Dentist wants fraud charges dropped

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Cape Town - A dentist who allegedly practised with a forged registration certificate hopes to have criminal charges against him withdrawn, it emerged in his fraud case in a Cape Town court on Friday.

Cyril Alvin Engel, 54, of Utrecht, KwaZulu-Natal, made his fourth appearance in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg.

Prosecutor Jannie Knipe told the court he had received written representations from defence attorney Joshua Greeff for the withdrawal of the charges, which include fraud and forgery. Knipe said he needed to discuss the matter with advocate Malini Govender, head of the Specialised Commercial Crime Prosecuting Unit.

According to the charge sheet, Engel was a registered dentist until August 2003, when his name was removed from the register due to his failure to pay the prescribed annual fee.

Engel allegedly continued to practise, illegally, until his name was restored to the register in July 2010.

Engel now faces charges of violating the Health Professions Act, forgery and fraud.

He allegedly forged a practice card certifying that he was registered as a dentist, and presented it to the Western Cape health department. He further allegedly falsely informed the health department that he was a registered dentist.

Knipe alleges the fraud induced the health department to engage Engel as a dentist, and pay him a total of R1,963,053 between August 2003 and March 2010.

Engel, who is out on R10 000 bail, was warned to appear in court again on June 27.

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