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SIU welcomes order for fraudsters to pay back the money

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The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has welcomed an order by the Special Tribunal ordering a former assistant State Attorney, two other individuals and Ntandokazi Trading to pay back over R4.4 million, with interest fraudulently claimed for midwifery medico-legal services.

On Wednesday, the Special Tribunal ruled that former assistant State Attorney Nosipho Zibani, Yolanda Tebogo Hlatshwayo, Phindile Zibani and Ntandokazi Trading to jointly pay the Gauteng Health MEC an amount of R 4 452 351,81 and a further R 135, 000 in fraudulent claims and damages respectfully.

The Special Tribunal also ordered the forfeiture of pension benefits to the value of R798 939,34 held with the Government Employees Pension Fund, which belongs to Nosipho Zibani.

The SIU was granted a preservation order for pension benefits on 10 October 2020, pending the finalization of the legal action.

The SIU investigation in the State Attorney revealed that between 2016 and 2017, Zibani, Hlatshwayo and Phindile Zibani entered into an oral agreement to defraud the MEC through the fraudulent medico-legal schemes.

Hlatshwayo purportedly issued invoices to the State Attorney in matters assigned to Nosipho as the attorney of record for the MEC when Hlatshwayo did not render such services. The invoices were purportedly in relation to midwifery medico-legal services Hlatshwayo rendered in the relevant matters.

Nosipho was employed by the State Attorney as an assistant State attorney and served in the medical negligence unit.

In this capacity, Nosipho was the attorney of record for the MEC in matters in which the MEC is cited as the defendant. This is where various plaintiffs instituted action against the MEC for the alleged negligent conduct of medical health professionals working in public health institutions, resulting in a child being born with cerebral palsy.

A probe in the State Attorney’s accounting department shows nine fraudulent invoices amounting to R4.4 million by Ntandokazi Trading, which were authorised and paid by the former assistant State Attorney.

The findings prompted the launch of disciplinary proceedings against Nosipho. She resigned from the office of the State Attorney before the disciplinary proceedings commenced.

Furthermore, the Special Tribunal ordered that the defendants are jointly and severally ordered to pay the legal costs on the scale between attorney and client, including costs of two counsel.

The outcome of the Special Tribunal is a continuation of implementation of the SIU investigation outcomes and consequence management to recover assets and financial losses suffered by State institutions and/or to prevent further losses. – SAnews


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