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Wed Nov 26 19:23:34 CAT 2014

Eastern Cape health fraud claims an attempt to tarnish MEC: department

Sapa | 05 February, 2013 06:56
A doctor holding a stethoscope.

Claims that the Eastern Cape health department has lost R1.4 billion to fraud are an attempt to tarnish the name of health MEC Sicelo Gqobana, the department says.

The department was aware only of the R42.8 million involved in a fraud and corruption investigation being conducted by the Special Investigating Unit, departmental spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said in a statement.

He said the department remained committed to the fight against fraud and corruption and that all officials implicated would be "dealt with severely".

The Times reported on its website on Monday that it was in possession of a 55-page document which revealed that 23,221 of the department's 56,000 employees were selling services and goods back to their employer.

According to the document, tracking down fraudulent staff had reportedly helped the department recover R600m of R1.4bn which had been stolen.

The newspaper reported that the department had described the figure as a "gross exaggeration".

In a statement on Sunday, Kupelo said 544 department workers were suspected of being ghost employees because had been established that they had invalid identity numbers.

He said 8034 employees were directors of active companies and 929 were listed as suppliers for the health department.

Of the 8034 directors, 235 had received payment of R42.8m from the department, including R7.3m to provide medical support personnel, R4m and R3.5m for engineering support staff, and R3.8m for an emergency services member.

The department said 35 spouses of employees were found to be doing business with the department, and were linked to 35 companies which received payments of R11m.

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