Durban - Two Durban hospitals were duped by a sex worker into believing he was a cardiologist and a cancer specialist.
Jonathan Peterson, 32, pleaded guilty yesterday in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court to 43 counts of fraud, forgery and uttering.
He was also charged with impersonating a doctor and promising to secure hospital tenders for business people.
The Pietermaritzburg man admitted that he had posed as a cardiologist at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital for more than two months and that he had completed an application form in the name of Dr Andile Duma to gain access to the hospital premises.
In his written plea to the court, Peterson said he had decided to impersonate a doctor when he became tired of being a sex worker.
“In March, I realised that being a sex worker was not working for me any more, so I decided to go to Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital’s security department. I told them I was a doctor and that I had lost my access card to enter the hospital,” he said in the statement, which was read out in court by his legal representative.
“They gave me forms for my employer to fill out, but since I didn’t have an employer, I filled them out myself and I was issued with a card under the name ‘Dr Andile Duma’.”
While in the hospital, Peterson said he had walked around the passages and in the canteen.
“I even went to Prince Mshiyeni Hospital and told security that I worked in the oncology department,” he said. “I bribed them with R50 and they gave me a name tag.”
He said he had bought a stethoscope from a pharmacy in Mahatma Gandhi (Point) Road, and a navy and purple uniform from a woman in the CBD.
He also admitted to fraudulently informing certain companies since February this year that he was a medical doctor who owned 50 percent of the shares of medical group Netcare and that he could obtain tenders for the construction of a hospital, a contract to run a canteen at uMlazi’s Prince Mshiyeni Hospital and employment contracts to establish a Netcare call centre.
Peterson admitted to receiving money from the business people to submit the tender documents, ostensibly on behalf of Netcare.
He had told them he needed to travel to Pretoria to sort out the paperwork for the tender award.
All in all, Peterson was paid R191 939.50 by the complainants, including for seven trips to Pretoria.
He had been posing as Dr Duma since April 7, was arrested on June 19, and has been in custody at Westville Prison since.
He was charged with 28 counts of defrauding the Department of Health by posing as a medical doctor, and for drawing up false documents for a tender process. He also faces eight counts of forgery for distributing false letters on behalf of Netcare to various companies, and seven counts of uttering for sending letters which he knew had been forged.
Peterson admitted that he was not a doctor, was not mandated to contract on behalf of Netcare, and that he did not have 50 percent of Netcare shares.
“There were no construction projects,” he said. “All the documents completed for the tender process were false… The promises of obtaining tenders were all false.”
Peterson was found guilty and is expected to appear in court on September 6 for mitigation of sentence.