Bonitas: Inspection does not affect our members directly

Bonitas Medical Fund's Principal Officer Gerhard Van Emmenis has said that an inspection into the fund is still ongoing, and that it will not affect members directly.

Van Emmenis was responding to queries from Fin24, following a report in the Business Day that a two-year long probe into Bonitas had been "inexplicably" halted.

"As far as the scheme is aware, only the mandate of the inspector has been terminated. As far as we are aware, the inspection itself still continues," Van Emmenis said in an emailed response to Fin24.

"We have written to the Registrar of Medical Schemes to ask for clarity regarding the inspection process."

Earlier, Fin24 reported that the registrar of medical Schemes had appointed an inspector on November 1, 2014 to inspect possible irregularities within the fund. Initially Bonitas had appealed this decision, but was unsuccessful and the inspection went ahead in 2016.

Van Emmenis confirmed that the inspection relates to "many aspects of the schemes business" which had mainly arisen from the time of its curatorship. "This included the investigation into the 2010 and 2011 elections (bearing in mind that the curatorship was only uplifted in 2012), and certain contracts that the scheme has with service providers," Van Emmenis said.

So far, Bonitas has received a draft report, but Van Emmenis said it was not a draft report of the inspection, as the scheme is uncertain as to whether it has been concluded. "In any event, when the registrar issues a draft report, it is generally with a view to receiving the scheme’s comments, so that the registrar can take those comments into consideration, before finalising the inspection and drafting a final report."

Van Emmenis reiterated that Bonitas has sought clarity from the registrar on the status of the inspection.

He also said the inspection does not affect members directly. However, it may cause the scheme to become liable for "certain costs related to the inspection." This includes legal remedies, which "might be used where appropriate," he said.

Van Emmenis said that Bonitas is "more than willing" to cooperate with the Council for Medical Schemes – a regulatory body mandated to protect members of schemes. But Van Emmenis added that the schme has a responsibility to make sure that inspections which are done are lawful, and "in accordance with the principles of legality, fairness and rationality."

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