Thursday, 30 May, 2024
HomeNews UpdateTembisa staff linked to R1bn fraud still at work

Tembisa staff linked to R1bn fraud still at work

Six months after their roles in the massive Tembisa Hospital tender scandal were identified by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), nine senior staff who rigged inflated medical supply contracts – part of the R1bn extraction network first flagged by Babita Deokaran – are still at their desks, with no action having been taken against them.

Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko told the provincial legislature that the process to discipline them was still “being initiated”.

In the probe, the officlals were all positively linked to rubber-stamping purchase agreements, in some cases based on fake and forged documentation, that saw the hospital facility paying excessively high prices.

News24 reports that in one case, the cost of surgical drapes was inflated by nearly 2 000%.

The SIU squad had recommended the nine officials face disciplinary action.

And while the employees, all in the supply chain management and finance sections, remain at their desks, 217 companies identified by Deokaran and investigated by the SIU have still not been blacklisted by the Gauteng Department of Health.

More than half of these entities were exposed as syndicates, some linked to powerful political figures in the governing ANC. Among them are nearly 60 companies – that used proxy directors and fake addresses – accounting for nearly R440m of state funds.

Deplorable

“The lack of action is deplorable,” said the DA’s Jack Bloom. “I am astounded they were not speedily suspended and disciplined. How can they still be at their jobs earning salaries when the evidence against them is readily available in the SIU report made public in December last year?”

He called for their immediate suspension.

Professor Alex van den Heever, chair of Social Security Systems Administration and Management Studies at Wits University, called the slow pace of disciplinary action of “such importance to the integrity of the public health system” baffling.

“This has to be contrasted with the swift action taken against whistle-blowers. This appears to reflect an inverted system of accountability, where the corrupt are protected and decent public servants are targeted…In this instance, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the leadership in question extends from the top positions in the health department to the political office bearers.”

Mockery 

Ahmed Kathrada Foundation director Neeshan Balton said the “inexplicable” delay made a laughing stock of the Gauteng Government’s anti-corruption stance.

“It (the lack of disciplinary action) makes a mockery of Premier Panyaza Lesufi’s comments that his administration would treat this matter with the seriousness it deserved. It (gives) short shrift (to) any notion that what Babita uncovered would be taken seriously.

‘It raises questions about why, and whether or not the key beneficiaries of this scheme may be providing funding to people or organisations that govern the province.”

 

News24 article – Six months of nothing: Tembisa Hospital staff who helped R1 billion tender mafia still at work (Restricted access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Speculation of Gauteng ‘Mafia’ link to murder of Babita Deokaran

 

Uncovering the 200 suspicious Tembisa Hospital contracts flagged by Deokaran

 

Gauteng health boss ignored Deokaran’s plea for probe, claims acting HoD

 

Tembisa Hospital tender prices were upped by 2 000%

 

 

 

 

 

 

MedicalBrief — our free weekly e-newsletter

We'd appreciate as much information as possible, however only an email address is required.