Cash-for-kidney docs want case dismissed
Durban - Lawyers for the four medical specialists implicated in the “cash for kidney” scandal on Monday filed papers in the Durban’s Commercial Crimes Court to have charges against them dismissed.
Former St Augustine’s hospital employees who were implicated along with the doctors filed similar papers.
Prosecutor Advocate Robert Palmer said the matter was postponed to the end of February 2012 when the State will be expected to respond to the documents the legal teams of both parties have filed in court.
“It will be brought into court for argument and then thereafter the State will decide whether to prosecute or not,” said Palmer.
It has been reported that professors John Robbs and Ariff Haffejee and doctors Neil Christopher and Mahadev Naidoo - along with former St Augustine’s hospital transplant unit employees Malanie Azor and Lindy Dickson - are accused of performing 90 illegal transplant operations at the hospital about eight years ago.
They are facing charges of fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and contravening the Human Tissue Act.
The doctors’ attorney, Altus van Rensburg, reportedly told a Durban newspaper that his clients are not just known in the country, but around the world.
He reportedly said estimates are that the trial might drag for about a year or two. This means that the accused will be removed from their practices until the finalisation of the trial, which Van Rensburg said was not fair as the case is flimsy.
The scandal has made headlines both locally and internationally after it was discovered that Brazilians allegedly sold their organs for transplants for wealthy Israelis at Netcare St Augustine’s hospital.
Netcare was fined R7.8m in 2010 after pleading guilty to illegally acquiring and transplanting human kidneys at the hospital.