Gauteng Health spends R17.6 million on corruption investigations but no money recovered as hospital services suffer

The Gauteng Health Department has spent R17.6 million on 12 corruption investigations since January 2018, but has recovered no money that is desperately needed to provide hospital services for sick patients.

This information is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Mokgethi, only 4 of the investigations have concluded and they concerned the following: 

• Fraudulent deposits at Tambo Memorial Hospital 

• Fraudulent activities regarding Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVAs) at Thelle Mogoerane Hospital

• Procurement irregularities at Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

• R500 million wasted on the V-Block data storage contract

Nobody was fired as a result of these investigations although disciplinary warnings were given and 6 officials involved with the V-Block matter resigned.

I am astounded that no criminal charges were laid as a result of the investigations, and not a single cent of funds recovered. In the case of the R500 million V-Block scandal, this should surely have resulted in criminal charges against the implicated officials. And why was money not recovered in this case?

Eight other investigations are still ongoing into various fraud and corruption cases.

The most expensive investigation is costing R3.4 million, and is looking at human resource and supply chain irregularities at the Bheki Mlangeni Hospital in Soweto.

I suspect that the department is being ripped off by expensive legal firms who conduct these investigations.

In many cases the investigation costs more than what is alleged to have been stolen!

The department needs to have effective measures to prevent theft and fraud in the first place. But if it occurs, the investigations should be cost-effective and speedy, with stolen money recovered and the culprits charged in court.

The DA calls for the department to review the exorbitant cost of investigations by legal firms, and to ensure that criminal charges are always laid where indicated. The in-house capacity for investigations should also be expanded.

These measures will enable more money to be spent on the department’s prime purpose to provide quality health services to sick people.

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