Eastern Cape doctor found guilty of pocketing R2.3m in hospital construction project

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 Doctor Chwayita Ongama Yongama Yako, 46, was found guilty of pocketing money intended for the construction of a new hospital.
Doctor Chwayita Ongama Yongama Yako, 46, was found guilty of pocketing money intended for the construction of a new hospital.
  • An Eastern Cape doctor has been found guilty of fraud and theft.
  • The doctor was found to have pocketed R2.32 million in a hospital construction deal.
  • He was also found to have redirected funds from medical aid schemes.

An Eastern Cape doctor has been convicted of theft and fraud in the Mthatha Regional Court.

On Wednesday, Doctor Chwayita Ongama Yongama Yako, 46, was found guilty of pocketing money intended for the construction of a new hospital.

The court heard that on 31 July 2011, Yako – a doctor practising in Mthatha – entered into an agreement with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) representing Cross-Med Health Group and MPA Management Services. The contract was referred to as an exclusive agency agreement.

READ | Eastern Cape health spokesperson embroiled in 'fake' matric certificate scandal

In February 2012, the IDC approved a loan of R75.68 million to Cross-Med Health Care Centre Pty Ltd to establish a 52-bed private hospital facility in Mthatha, operating as the Mthatha Private Hospital.

According to the IDC loan agreement, Yako had to contribute R4 million to the project through his company Osteen Health Group Pty Ltd. Half of these funds had to be allocated to the construction of the hospital.

"Yako opened a Cross-Med bank account on behalf of the Cross-Med Health Group with First National Bank, of which he was the sole signatory in the bank account responsible for all payments made from this account (sic). A company called Copperzone was supposed to have been introduced to the IDC as a business partner with Yako's company, but it never was. The aforementioned company deposited more than R4.5 million into the Cross-Med bank account," Hawks spokesperson Captain Yolisa Mgolodela said.

Yako was found to have used R2.32 million from the Cross-Med Health Group bank account for his benefit.

"He further opened his private company bank account with a name similar to that of the Cross-Med Health Group business account by the name of Cross-Med Mthatha Private Hospital Pty Ltd [and] redirected funds from the medical aid schemes [to it]," Mgolodela said.

The Hawks' Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team in Mthatha undertook a probe in September 2013, which resulted in his arrest on 28 November 2018.

Yako will be sentenced on 29 September 2021.

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