SIU recovers nearly R700,000 from two disgraced Esidimeni caregivers
The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) said on Friday it had obtained a court order to recover R663,000 from two disgraced service providers implicated in the Life Esidimeni debacle.
The Anchor Centre for the Intellectually Disabled and Dorothy Evangeline Franks had continued to submit invoices to the department of health long after the patients were removed from their care, following the directive of the health ombudsman, Prof Malegapuru Makgoba, the SIU said.
This prompted the SIU to launch a court bid to recover the amounts.
The two providers were among many which had taken care of the estimated 1,300 mentally ill patients from Life Esidimeni Health Care Centre, following the cancellation of the Esidimeni contract by then Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in March 2016.
However, more than 100 patients died under the care of these service providers, prompting the health ombudsman to order the removal of the patients from these providers a year later.
The SIU said it obtained the order against the two former service providers on July 17.
"The SIU will follow up and ensure that the said money is recovered and paid back to the department," SIU spokesperson Nazreen Pandor said.
Pandor said the SIU was in the process of instituting civil action against the owners of a further nine NGOs that had done the same thing.
She said the value of the pending civil litigation was R5m.
"The SIU will follow up to ensure that action is taken against the NGOs and consequence management meted out against officials implicated."
She said the SIU intended to complete the investigation by November this year and submit a final report to the president.
“The SIU and the Gauteng provincial government (through the office of the premier) continue to collaborate in accordance with the memorandum of understanding (MoU) entered into to ensure that instances of maladministration, malpractice and corruption are reported, investigated and those responsible are held to account,” head of the SIU Andy Mothibi said.