Court cautions credit controller

Cape Town - A former credit controller at a Netcare hospital in Cape Town, accused of fraud, was cautioned in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Tuesday for contempt of court.

Megan Zowitsky, 45, who allegedly lodged false medical claims and channelled the payments into her bank account, had to explain to magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg why she failed to appear on Monday.

File photo. Credit: INDEPENDENT MEDIA

Zowitsky, who is from Dunnottar, in Nigel, said all flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town had been sold out, preventing her appearance. A friend then drove her to Cape Town.

Sonnenberg ruled that her failure to appear on Monday amounted to contempt of court. However, because she had come to court on Tuesday, of her own volition, a caution and discharge was appropriate punishment, instead of a fine.

Zowitsky was warned that contempt of court was a criminal offence and that, if she again failed to appear in court, her punishment was unlikely to be another lenient caution.

Zowitsky was a credit controller at a Netcare hospital in Cape Town, in 2008, and allegedly lodged false medical claims in respect of her niece.

Prosecutor Simone Liedeman alleges she channelled the medical aid payments into her own bank account.

Zowitsky has yet to plead to 13 counts of fraud involving R113,741.

Liedeman told the court she had suggested an appropriate sentence to Legal Aid lawyer Hayley Lawrence, for plea bargain proceedings.

Lawrence said she would indicate on Tuesday whether the sentence was acceptable.

If not, Zowitsky would go on trial, and leave the court to decide the sentence, Lawrence said.

In 2009, the Commissioner of Child Welfare appointed Zowitzky as guardian to her dead brother's minor daughter, and a trust was set up for the daughter, administered by the Old Mutual Trust.

As her niece's guardian, she had to submit documentary proof to the Old Mutual Trust, of claims for her niece's medical and other expenses.

She allegedly submitted false documentation to substantiate false claims for her niece's medical expenses for treatment, or her niece's admission to the hospital.