R7m in wasted baby formula: health official suspended

2014-04-25 15:17

The North West department of health has suspended a senior official for his alleged role in a baby formula milk scandal.

Cornelius Lebeloe, the department’s director of advocacy, social mobilisation and communication, was suspended today following a preliminary investigation.

Lebeloe was the director responsible for HIV and Aids when the province purchased baby milk formula worth R7 million in May 2011 but then failed to distribute it for three years.

This led to its expiry and the department had to spend another R2 million to incinerate the expired milk in January this year.

Provincial health spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane said the department had written to Lebeloe and two other senior managers who were working in the same unit at the time to explain their role in the procurement and processes that led to the baby formula milk having to be destroyed.

“Based on what the preliminary investigations revealed and the responses received from the three, a decision was then taken to suspend Lebeloe. The investigation continues and the findings will inform further action the department takes with regard to the other two senior officials,” he said.

Lekgethwane could not reveal what the preliminary investigation had found.

Attempts to reach Lebeloe, who was apparently served with a letter of suspension this morning, were unsuccessful. City Press phoned his mobile phone several times.

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