ECape health dept ‘only aware of R42m fraud’

2013-02-05 08:43

Claims that the Eastern Cape health department has lost R1.4 billion to fraud are an attempt to tarnish the name of health MEC Sicelo Gqobana, the department has said.

The department was aware only of the R42.8 million involved in a fraud and corruption investigation being conducted by the Special Investigating Unit, departmental spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said in a statement yesterday.

He said the department remained committed to the fight against fraud and corruption and all officials implicated would be “dealt with severely”.

The Times reported on its website yesterday it was in possession of a 55-page document which revealed that 23 221 of the department’s 56 000 employees were selling services and goods back to their employer.

According to the document, tracking down fraudulent staff had reportedly helped the department recover R600 million of R1.4 billion which had been stolen.

The newspaper reported the department had described the figure as a “gross exaggeration”.

In a statement on Sunday, Kupelo said 544 department workers were suspected of being ghost employees because it had been established they had invalid identity numbers.

He said 8034 employees were directors of active companies and 929 were listed as suppliers for the health department.

Of the 8034 directors, 235 had received payment of R42.8 million from the department, including R7.3 million to provide medical support personnel, R4 million and R3.5 million for engineering support staff, and R3.8 million for an emergency services member.

The department said 35 spouses of employees were found to be doing business with the department, and were linked to 35 companies which received payments of R11 million.

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