The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and the Eastern Cape provincial government have welcomed a court order stopping payments in relation to medico-legal claims to controversial lawyer, Zuko Nonxuba.
This comes after a City Press report that the Eastern Cape government was grappling with medico-legal claims – estimated to be R23 billion over the last two decades – which have been exacerbated by a high number of fraudulent claims by unscrupulous lawyers.
The Eastern Cape health department had approached the courts to intervene and sought an order to stop the payments of millions of rands to Nonxuba who is out on R80 000 bail after he was arrested last month on allegations of fraud pertaining to medico-legal claims.
Advocate Andy Mothibi, the head of the SIU, which is investigating medico legal claims in the Eastern Cape and other provinces, said he welcomed the order handed down on Tuesday at the Mthatha High Court which prevents payments to Nonxuba Inc Attorneys.
“As a result of this high court order, the SIU and the Eastern Cape department of health managed to interdict and stop two payments of R26 million and R13 million to an attorney from Nonxuba Inc Attorneys who was recently arrested and charged with fraudulent medico-legal claims to the value exceeding R90 million,” said Mothibi.
He said the arrest of the attorney last month followed an intensive investigation by the SIU and the Eastern Cape health department and that the investigation revealed a number of fraudulent medico-legal claims.
The SIU, the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority collaborated and ensured that the attorney was arrested.
The order made by Judge Bantubonke Tokota in Mthatha on Tuesday effectively prevented the sheriff of Centurion in Gauteng paying Nonxuba a total of R39 million.
Mothibi said following his release last month, Nonxuba called the sheriff demanding the payments of R26 million and R13 million.
After this was brought to his attention, Mothibi swiftly instructed the SIU legal team to work with the Eastern Cape health department and the sheriff to initiate a legal process to stop further payments.
“The investigation into fraudulent medico-legal claims is ongoing and based on the evidence gathered thus far, we expect more arrests in due course,” Mothibi said.
Sizwe Kupelo, spokesperson for the Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle, said they also welcomed the court order.
“The issue of medico-legal claims is a grave concern to government, particularly the premier. And anything that would put a stop to the continued claims against the state would be welcomed,” he said
He said government would do everything in their power to put a stop to claims that are not genuine.
The money that was being paid for fraudulent legal claims was meant to improve health services, he added, and the department of health was clearly “under siege” from unscrupulous lawyers.
“Those who may be involved in questionable medico legal claims should know that we are coming for them. We have set processes in motion to ensure that we protect the coffers of the state,” he said.