Cops to act over kidney syndicate

2008-11-28 12:36

Durban - Key players in an alleged international syndicate trading in human kidneys, including hospital group Netcare and high profile medical specialists, will be notified next week that the State is considering pressing criminal charges against them, the Mercury newspaper reported.

It has been eight years since police began probing allegations that Brazilian kidney donors were being brought to South Africa, where their healthy organs were transplanted into mainly Israeli patients at Durban's St Augustine's hospital.

The scam was covered up through documents stating that the donors and recipients were blood relatives - as required by law for organ transplant.

The Commercial Crime Unit told Sapa at least 104 kidneys had been sold.

Those implicated would be given an opportunity to make representations before a charge sheet is drafted - in line with a recent precedent set in ANC president Jacob Zuma's corruption case.

The newspaper confirmed that a team spearheading the investigation and prosecution, led by University of KwaZulu-Natal law professor Robin Palmer and commercial crime unit Captain Louis Helberg, were locked in meetings this week.

The team drafted a "discussion document" which Palmer confirmed would be handed to lawyers acting for those implicated, next week.

Charges being considered were fraud, forgery, and contraventions of the Human Tissues Act.

- SAPA

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