Cash-for-kidneys doctors file for dismissal

2011-12-06 08:55

The four medical specialists implicated in the “cash-for-kidneys” scandal filed papers in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court to have charges against them dismissed.

The Witness newspaper reported today that former Netcare St Augustine’s hospital employees implicated along with the doctors filed similar papers.

Professors John Robbs and Ariff Haffejee, and doctors Neil Christopher and Mahadev Naidoo, along with former St Augustine’s transplant unit employees Malanie Azor and Lindy Dickson are accused of performing 90 illegal transplant operations at the hospital about eight years ago.

They face charges of fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and contravening of the Human Tissue Act.

The scandal made headlines both locally and internationally after it was discovered that Brazilians allegedly sold their organs to be transplanted to wealthy Israelis at the medical facility.

Prosecutor advocate Robert Palmer said the matter was postponed to the end of February next year, when the State would be expected to respond to the documents the legal teams of both parties had filed.

“It will be brought into court for argument and then thereafter the State will decide whether to prosecute or not,” Palmer was quoted in the Natal Witness as saying.

The doctors’ attorney, Altus van Rensburg, said the trial might take about a year or two.

“This means that the accused will be removed from their practices until the finalisation of the trial,” Van Rensburg said.

Netcare was fined R7.8 million last year after pleading guilty to illegally acquiring and transplanting human kidneys at St Augustine’s.

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