Fourth deal in Netcare kidney case

2010-11-23 10:31

Another of the accused in the Netcare cash-for-kidneys scheme trial has struck a plea bargain deal with the state, pleading guilty to 50 counts of contravening the Human Tissue Act in return for a R50 000 fine and a five year jail sentence suspended for five years.

Samuel Ziegler (62), who acted as an interpreter for the Israeli kidney suppliers brought to South Africa to illegally provide kidneys to rich Israeli patients undergoing the transplants at St Augustine’s hospital in Durban as part of Netcare’s international scam, is the fourth of the 10 accused in the case to have taken a deal. Two weeks ago Netcare itself, St Augustine’s and Netcare CEO Richard Friedland entered a plea bargain, paying R4 million in fines and agreeing to a R3.8 million confiscation order by the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU).

The rest of the accused, Netcare transplant coordinators Melanie Azor and Lindy Dickson, nephrologist Jeffrey Kallmeyer and surgeons Ariff Haffejee, John Robbs, Neil Christopher and Mahadev Naidoo will now appear in the Durban commercial crime court again on December 14 when a decision will be taken on both trial date and the venue. It is understood that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) prefers moving the trail to the high court in Durban with the trial itself likely to take place early next year.

At the same time, negotiations are continuing between lawyers for the remaining seven accused and the state over potential plea deals, which would see a shorter trial process.

In his guilty plea Ziegler said he understood the nature of his crime of participating in an illegal deal to sell human tissue and that he felt remorse for his actions. He has until June 11 next year to pay the R50 000, which was made up of R1 000 each for the 50 counts he pleaded guilty to.

He may, however, still face an asset forfeiture bid by the AFU.

NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mahaga said the NPA was “satisfied’’ with the conviction and sentence imposed on Ziegler, whom he described as playing the “least significant’’ role in the scheme, which netted Netcare some R21 million from illegal operations performed at St Augustine’s alone.

The group also carried out similar illegal operations, using donors from Israel, Romania and Brazil, in Netcare hospitals in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The state has not, however, charged them over these cases due to the massive logistics involved in such a prosecution, which investigators say would take some 18 years to complete. Israeli donors were paid $20 000 (about R140 744) per kidney and their Romanian and Brazilian counterparts around $6 000 each. The current case, which deals with 109 illegal transplants, started in 2004.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.