Fake doc ‘hijacked’ Santa

2012-01-21 18:38

Treatment for thousands of tuberculosis (TB) patients has ground to a halt after a controversial businessman “hijacked” the SA National Tuberculosis Association (Santa) and transferred millions of its money into his bank account.

Confronted by City Press this week, businessman “Dr” Sateesh Isseri admitted that there was, on the face of it, evidence that he had committed fraud and that he was in contempt of court.

The saga, which has torn Santa apart, started when the association entered into a management agreement with Isseri at the beginning of

last year.

In June, he attempted to have himself elected as chief executive and has since claimed that he headed the association, which was established in 1947 to combat and treat TB.

Isseri (49) – who is involved in a multitude of companies, including one which he claims owns five clinics – has in the past year:

» Falsified state documents – according to evidence under oath in a high court arbitration hearing – to help him take control of Santa;

» Transferred R13?million of the association’s funds into his company’s bank account; and

» Started transferring properties and assets of the association to one of his companies and then attempted to sell them.

Despite claiming to be chief executive of Santa, City Press has seen a copy of a high court order from September that interdicts Isseri from representing himself as the association’s representative.

Confronted this week with allegations of fraud, forgery and contempt of court, Isseri admitted that he was ignoring court orders on the advice of his lawyers and claimed that he had been “ambushed”.

His lawyer, Warren Brider, admitted, however, that Isseri was not allowed to represent himself as being associated

with Santa.

Isseri said he was trying to save the association and also claimed that Santa was run by a “secret society of four white guys” who controlled its lucrative trusts and who lived lavish lifestyles.

He claimed to have uncovered widespread fraud and mismanagement at Santa after his appointment.

Isseri admitted that he had transferred R13?million into his bank account, but insisted that it was money owed to him that he had loaned the organisation.

Santa’s lawyer, David Feldman, insisted that Isseri “cleaned out” the association’s bank account and that his attempts to “hijack Santa knows no end”.

Isseri has so far been subjected to five high court interdicts and orders obtained by Santa against him between July and December.

The court has also frozen his business account and ordered him to return any properties belonging to Santa he had transferred to his name and to give back cars he had taken.

He has been interdicted from drawing money from any of Santa’s accounts and has to return all their financial records.

In December, the sheriff of the court evicted Isseri from the association’s head office in Bedfordview, east of Johannesburg.

Santa has laid charges of fraud and theft against Isseri.

In turn, Isseri has charged Santa officials with fraud and Feldman with bribery.

Isseri is now the subject of a police investigation into fraud and theft.

“Isseri’s mischief paralysed Santa last year,” claims the organisation’s community safety manager, Peter Mabulane, who says infection rates of people with TB have risen as a result.

Mabulane said staff members had not been paid and Santa had been unable to do any field work, home-based care or preventative education.

Several programmes, among them a nutrition and research programme, were suspended pending a series of court applications between Isseri and the association.

Although cash-strapped, Isseri says he is launching yet another high court application to have him declared the “real” chief executive of Santa.

Isseri claims to be a medical doctor and specialist in HIV and Aids. He claimed to have obtained a doctorate in nutrition from Birmingham University in Alabama, US. When informed that no such university exists, he quickly said he had studied at the American College of Nutrition in Birmingham in Alabama!

The College of Nutrition is in Florida and it is not possible to do a doctorate at the college.

Isseri refused to say where he had studied medicine and qualified as a medical doctor. He further admitted that he was not registered in South Africa as a medical practitioner.

He ignored further requests for proof of his qualifications.

When City Press put it to him that he appeared to be a con man, he said: “If you say so.”

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