Netcare accused offered deal - source

2010-11-21 17:39

Johannesburg - Prosecutors are negotiating with the eight remaining accused in the international kidneys-for-cash scam run by Netcare’s St Augustine’s Hospital, to secure a plea bargain of guilty when they appear in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court on Tuesday.

The eight, who are all involved in Netcare’s renal transplant unit at St Augustine’s, were allegedly part of the team that carried out 109 illegal kidney transplants on rich Israeli patients.

The organs were harvested from desperately poor donors in Brazil, Israel and Romania.

The eight accused are nursing specialists Lindsay Dickson and Melanie Azor; Hebrew interpreter Samuel Ziegler; and surgeons Jeffrey Kallmeyer, Ariff Haffejee, John Robbs, Neil Christopher and Mahadev Naidoo.

The management of the JSE-­listed Netcare, South Africa’s largest private hospital group, two weeks ago admitted to having carried out the illegal transplants, paid a fine of R4mand agreed to a confiscation order of R3.8m in terms of a plea agreement.

The State is now carrying on with its prosecution of the eight staff members, all of whom Netcare bosses implicated in the plea agreement.

An impeccable source close to the prosecution team said on Friday that they were “talking to” lawyers representing the eight, in a bid to secure a second plea agreement to end seven years of ­denials and evasion by the eight accused and the disgraced hospital group.


“The thinking is that the main objective of stopping the illegal transplants has been achieved already and that the eight have already been punished to some extent by the damage to their professional reputations caused by the publicity around the investigation and court case,” the source said.

“At this stage it would achieve little to continue with a drawn-out trial process. The others involved in Brazil and Israel are being tried there. This group of accused are not the ones who put the scheme together; nor did they make any extra money out if it.”

He said their crime was failing to blow the whistle when it became clear the donors and recipients were not related.

The source said: “In fact they were from different countries and didn’t even speak the same language – and the ­donors, or rather suppliers, were only doing this for money.

"This group of accused are not the ones who put the scheme together. They simply failed to blow the whistle.

“The deterrent is there and the network has been broken up. If the accused do the right thing, this case may end here.

"Some of these guys are leaders in the field and have been frozen out of the conference circuit, on which they were world leaders, due to the investigation.”

Prosecutors are acutely aware that Haffejee, Robbs, Naidoo and Christopher are among the best renal surgeons in South Africa.

They do transplant work for state hospitals as well as the private sector, and should they be jailed and disbarred the province’s renal transplant capacity will be badly dented.

If they do not take the deal offered by the State, prosecutors will issue a formal indictment in the High Court in Durban and proceed to trial early next year.

Among those who will be called as witnesses are Illan Perry, the Israeli organ broker who, along with Netcare bosses, put together the scheme and arranged for Israeli medical aid societies to pay for the illegal operations.

The state will also call Belinda Rossi, the Netcare national transplant co-ordinator who went to Israel in 2001 to meet Perry with the intention of setting up the scheme, which involved bringing ­Israelis to Netcare hospitals in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town to undergo the operations there.

Read more on:    netcare  |  durban

Read News24’s Comments Policy 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
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Get fit on a budget

It’s time to throw the “I can’t afford to exercise” excuse out the window.


Where were you when you last felt alive?

Tips for paddling your first Dusi
Climbing the world’s largest stone arch
Awesome extreme sports people
Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


You may prefer to be in charge because then you can call the shots. You are not as flexible as you like to make out to be and more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


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 network.


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.