E Cape health dept ‘lost R200m to fraud’

A preliminary report by the Special Investigation Unit on a probe into the Eastern Cape health department revealed corruption involving R200 million, according to a report on Tuesday.

The investigation, launched in December, found that 15 900 department officials were illegally receiving child support grants totalling R58 million per year, the Daily Dispatch Online reported.

File photo - Phumla Kiewiets was taken to the Mossel Bay hospital in a shocked but stable condition and was treated for smoke inhalation. Credit: Independent Newspapers

The leaked report also revealed that almost 4 000 officials were illegally receiving housing subsidies from the human settlements department amounting to R86m.

Assets valued around R19m, which were transferred to district offices, apparently went missing.

The health department reportedly paid R42.8m to 226 companies linked to 235 civil servants, while 174 officials' spouses were linked to companies that benefited R9m.

The report indicated problems faced by investigators included missing supply chain management, believed to have been stolen or sold to a recycling plant.

Health department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo acknowledged the difficulties.

“The department of health is committed to fighting fraud and corruption and anyone accused of such allegations will be pursued, regardless of who they are,” he said.

The department lost R800m to corruption between January 2009 and June 2010. - Sapa