Foreign doctors targeted by fake ’Hawks’ official threatening to have them arrested, struck off the roll
Johannesburg - A man purporting to be a Hawks official is allegedly approaching foreign doctors, accusing them of crimes and demanding they pay him so they don’t get arrested and struck off the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) roll.
The man also created a fake letter to make the scam look real and is said to have approached three doctors – two in Gauteng and one in the Eastern Cape.
The HPCSA has called on other doctors who fell victim to the man to get in touch with them.
Spokesperson for the HPCSA Eric Mphaphuli said the matter came to their attention when the worried doctors reported the matter to them.
Mphaphuli said the man accused the doctors of having sold medical certificates and allegedly demanded amounts ranging from R75 000 to R1.5-million or else they will be struck off the roll.
“The HPCSA would like to make practitioners aware of an alleged “Hawks’ investigator” that is targeting foreign registered-practitioners by claiming that they are being investigated and threatening them with fake HPCSA letters, which state that they are under investigation and thereby demanding money not to be arrested.
“Council is currently collating all the information and will report the matter to the police. Practitioners who have fallen victim to this alleged Hawks’ investigator are urged to report the matter to the police and verify any letters that have been received from the Inspectorate Office,” he said.
The letter the man sent to the doctors reads: “The Inspectorate Office under the ambit of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), conducted a sting operation to apprehend a suspected bogus practitioner and non-compliant with the HPCSA’s rules of conduct.
“On Wednesday, 17 February 2021, the HPCSA’s Inspectorate Office in a joint operation have received a tip-off regarding a medical practitioner regarding the selling of sick notes and dispensing unauthorised medical in contravention of Section 17 of the HPCSA’s Act.
“The Office of Hawks is hereby requested to scrutinise the information contained in the attachments documents. We recommend that the Doctor be brought to the book.”
The letter, which the HPCSA says is fake, then includes the name of the doctor in a different font at the bottom.
“The letter is a fake one, he probably used information from the website when we issue statements. He did not speak to these doctors face to face but rather sent them the letter and spoke to them over the phone,” said Mphaphuli.