Hospital fraud probe drags on

2009-11-27 00:00

FRAUD, harassment and corruption investigations against five senior officials of Ladysmith Provincial Hospital are dragging on, with KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Dr Sbongiseni Dhlomo confirming last week the dismissal of two other senior employees for fraud.

The two were dismissed in late 2007 and 2008 for giving misleading information about their qualifications and experience.

According to an inside source the two were employed as a stores manager and a human resources officer. The other five are under suspension on full pay pending investigation of the charges levelled against them by the hospital.

“The investigation is still on. We have to take it through the processes that will see the guilty parties taken to court. The dismissed persons are also investigated because the department has to go through the processes of ascertaining the amount paid to them during their employment at the hospital,” Dhlomo said.

“Once we have all the information and every aspect of the matter is in place, we will hand over to our lawyers to get the hospital’s money back,” he said.

Dhlomo said the duties of the suspended five are being covered. Hospital spokesman Thabo Sithole said one of the five has since resigned, but contradicted the MEC’s statement, saying no one has been dismissed.

In May 2008 a delegation of 14 senior management officials sent by then health MEC Peggy Nkonyeni visited the hospital after allegations of misconduct were raised by employee representatives against the top officials. Among the allegations were the lack of service delivery, harassment of staff, fraud and corruption. An internal investigation was conducted and a report sent to the then acting head of department, Yoliswa Mbhele, that month.

The inside source said the action against the officials was long overdue. “This is a step in the right direction and more investigations are needed to get all the rotten potatoes out of the institution,” said the source.

Departmental heads and employee representatives convened a meeting in September. “The representatives have taken a position that the officials under investigation must not come back to the hospital because of their management style,” the source said.

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