Corrupt officials given 7 years

2010-09-02 00:00

A FORMER KwaZulu-Natal health official and her four accomplices were sentenced by Durban’s special commercial crimes court on Monday to seven years in prison, with three years suspended for five years.

Zoleka Cheryl Bomoyi, who worked in the department’s infrastructure division, her husband Mthetheleli Bomoyi, Nokuthula Cynthia Mthembu, Ntombizodwa Patricia Dubazane and Sifiso Reginald Mnikathi were arrested in February after they fraudulently used the Health Department’s order book to obtain a loan of R2,8 million from Ithala Bank. They were released on bail.

Bomoyi was arrested at the department’s Pietermaritzburg offices, the others at a bank in uMlazi near Durban. Two of the accused worked for Ithala Bank and the Agriculture Department .

Department spokesperson Chris Maxon said the five approached Ithala Bank for a loan, claiming that they had been awarded a R3,4 million tender to supply medical equipment to various hospitals and clinics.

The bank contacted the department to confirm the tender and the department denied its existence.

Maxon said it emerged that Mnikathi wanted a company that was a service provider to the department. Mthembu agreed to provide her company, Senza Ngendlela Trading 1 cc.

A few weeks later an order form from the department was handed over in the amount of R 3 496 036,65 as well as a letter of appointment from the department’s infrastructure unit.

The order form was stolen from the department and used as surety to secure the loan.

Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo said corruption has a devastating effect on poor people, especially corruption in the public health services.

“Some people get an unfair advantage because they can be bribed to do special favours for certain people,” said Dhlomo.

He said initiatives have been introduced by a joint management team, among which cases of alleged fraud and corruption are at the forefront.

By June this year, 377 cases, including various transgressions within the department, were at final stages of investigation.

“Fundamental to the fight against corruption is the involvement of all stakeholders. It is the collaboration between various stakeholders that today we can report such progress,” Dhlomo said.

Institute for Security Studies spokesperson Collette Schulz-Herzenberg said that although there are no statistics, there’s a perception that government corruption in the public sector is on the increase.

“Very often corruption cases in government aren’t dealt with appropriately. Whistleblowers are at the receiving end of punitive action, including dismissals and intimidation,” said Schulz-Herzenberg.

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