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Tembisa Hospital audit buried for a year and recommendations ignored

In what appears to be more evidence of blatant complicity and a massive cover-up, a Gauteng Health Department audit of Tembisa Hospital, after Babita Deokaran had identified R850m in suspicious payments, looked at only a random sample of just 18 payments – of 1 203 red-flagged by her that showed all were irregular – before being concealed for a year.

Recommendations for an urgent investigation were then abandoned.

Included in the “confidential report” filed in September last year was a purchase order for 200 pairs of forceps: auditors did not assess pricing, but if they had, reports News24, they would have found Tembisa Hospital paid nearly R2 500 for a product that can be ordered online for R70.

Other findings were that there were no properly implemented controls for vendor evaluation to prevent or detect fictitious suppliers; that companies provided the same price, down to the rand, for completely different products; that all purchase orders were just below R500 000 – “and this is distinct in all orders from this institution”, auditors found.

The audit also uncovered that within the hospital, procurement staff knowingly used expired BBEEE and tax certificates, in efforts to legitimise the orders.

“It clearly indicates that supply chain management officials are using outdated (documents) from the companies as they know that the bidding committee and accounting officer will approve without checking the validity,” the report reads. “All quotations approved are just below R500 000, and it is recommended this be investigated urgently.”

Deokaran had also called for an urgent probe of the hospital and a stop to payments but was killed three weeks after filing her own report.

Instead, the findings were handed to the now suspended hospital CEO Ashley Mthunzi, who was tasked with disciplining his staff for purchases which he himself had approved.

A Promotion of Access to Information Act application for the report, filed by News24 in July, was automatically refused by the Gauteng Health Department. However, the report was given to the DA’s Jack Bloom in response to questions he posed in the Gauteng provincial legislature, and he provided this publication with a copy.

What the auditors missed – in an exercise that lasted less than a week – was that nearly a third of the payments they scrutinised were channelled to three companies controlled by one family. News24 previously revealed that the Mazibuko clan scored R55m in contracts from the impoverished hospital.

A spate of payments to 17 companies in this network, in just three months, indicates collusion and manipulation of the procurement process within the hospital, which was either enabled or ignored by Health Department bosses.

Five of the 18 purchase orders scrutinised during the audit link back to companies controlled by Rudolph Mazibuko and his relatives. Between the patriarch, his late wife, their son and a cousin, they operated a medical supply dynasty selling everything from ventilators to hiking boots.

Investigators looked at two contracts awarded to Apollo Clothing for the supply of 1 000 “surgical pads” and “diathermy electrodes” in the same quantity. Both carried exactly the same price: R481 500. This same clothing company also sold plastic buckets to the hospital for R9 600 each. These buckets can be bought for under R200.

Meanwhile, the six men charged with Deokaran’s murder made another appearance in the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) last week, when their previous attorney withdrew from the case because of the men's financial problems, reports EWN.

The last two postponements of the case have both been for the suspects’ legal team, headed up by Shafique Sarlie, to finalise their financial instructions and for the accused to put up the funds for their trial – however, this had still not been done by last week.

A new attorney, Bongani Zulu, as well as two new advocates, Sanele Sibisi and Cyril Mlotshwa have been appointed and the case postponed so a copy of the docket can be provided to the new team. The case will return to court on 18 November.

 

News24 article – SILENCED | Inside the 'confidential' Tembisa Hospital audit which was buried after Deokaran hit (Restricted access)

 

EWN article – Babita Deokaran's alleged killers get new legal team (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

ANC bigwigs score millions from Tembisa Hospital

 

Nurses union sides with suspended Tembisa Hospital boss

 

‘Corruption mafia’ claimed to be manipulating hospital tenders

 

Tembisa Hospital pays footballer and wife R500,000 for skinny jeans contract

 

 

 

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