The Mthatha Regional Court sentenced prominent Mthatha doctor, Chwayita Yako (46), to an effective 10 years’ imprisonment after convicting him on charges of theft and fraud.
However, the court granted Yako’s legal team leave to appeal both the conviction and sentence.
Spokesperson for National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Luxolo Tyhali said the court sentenced Yako to eight years for theft amounting to R1,9 million.
Tyhali said the Magistrate, Noluthando Conjwa, ordered the sentences to run concurrently.
“Yako was a practising doctor in Mthatha when a plan was made to establish the 52-bed Mthatha Private Hospital. In February 2011, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) approved a loan facility of R75,6 million towards that project,” said Tyhali.
He added that, according to the IDC loan agreement, Yako was supposed to contribute R4 million into the project through his company, Osteen Health Group (PTY) Ltd, R2million of which was to secure the property upon which the hospital was to be constructed.
Tyhali said the shareholder in the project, Copperzone, contributed R6,3 million in cash; therefore R10 million was supposed to be introduced into the business.
He added that Yako then diverted the funds to his private company, Malulu Investment Company, pretending to be paying one of the service providers, while using the money for his personal use.
“On October 2011, Yako opened a bank account to which he was the sole signatory and responsible for all payments made from that account. That bank account was opened under the name Cross-med Mthatha Private Hospital (PTY) Ltd, which closely resembles the trading name of the hospital, Cross-Med Health Centre (PTY) Ltd.”
According to Tyhali, he then caused the Medical Aid Society to deposit claims due to the hospital to the Cross-Med account for his personal use.
Tyhali said that during the trial, Yako pleaded not guilty. The senior state advocate, Mtutuzeli Rangula, led the evidence of the IDC representative, the business rescue practitioner, the medical aid society and the service provider that the payments were purported to have been made to.
He secured the conviction.
“NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit has made an application to attach Yako’s properties. That application is scheduled to be heard on January 24, 2022,” Tyhali said.