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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

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Ex-state attorney, sister and midwife to face criminal charges for stealing R4.4m

The Special Investigating Unit has succeeded in having a former state attorney forfeit her pension after fleecing the institution of over R4.4 million with her sister and a midwife. File image.

The Special Investigating Unit has succeeded in having a former state attorney forfeit her pension after fleecing the institution of over R4.4 million with her sister and a midwife. File image.

Published May 5, 2022

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Johannesburg - The Special Tribunal ordered that former assistant state attorney Nosipho Zibani, her sister Phindile Zibani and midwife Yolande Hlatshwayo must face criminal charges for defrauding millions of rands from the Gauteng health department.

In addition, Judge Lebogang Modiba ruled in favour of the Special Investigating Unit and that Nosipho will forfeit her pension held by Africa’s largest pension fund, the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF).

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”The pension benefits are declared forfeited to the (Gauteng health) MEC to the extent of Nosipho’s indebtedness to the MEC in respect of the judgment debt … and the order in respect of costs. The GEPF and its administrators shall pay over to the MEC Nosipho’s pension benefits to satisfy the judgment debt,” the judge ordered.

According to the judgment delivered on Wednesday, the tribunal’s registrar has also been directed to send a copy of the papers filed in the preservation application, the preservation order, the trial and this judgment to the Legal Practice Council, for its attention and investigation of Nosipho’s conduct.

Judge Modiba also ordered that the SA Nursing Council be handed the ruling for its attention and investigation of Hlatshwayo’s conduct.

”The Registrar of the tribunal is directed to send a copy of the papers filed in the preservation application, the preservation order, the trial and this judgment to the appropriate law enforcement agency, for criminal investigation and action against all the defendants (the Zibani siblings, Hlatshwayo and Ntandokazi 31 Trading, of which Phindile is a director),” reads the judgment.

The elaborate scheme worked through Hlatshwayo issuing invoices to the state attorney in matters in which Nosipho was assigned as the attorney of record for the Gauteng health MEC when she (Hlatshwayo) did not render any services.

The tribunal found that it was supposedly for midwifery medico-legal services that Hlatshwayo rendered.

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Nosipho worked in the state attorney’s medical negligence unit and worked on matters in which the Gauteng health MEC was cited as the defendant for alleged negligent conduct of medical health professionals in public health institutions causing children being born with cerebral palsy.

In one instance, Hlatshwayo charged the state attorney R1 500 per hour for 10 hours.

Judge Modiba found that Hlatshwayo became suspicious when she received documentation reflecting that the payments she received related to midwife services and not security services as represented to her by Nosipho.

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”When she sought clarification from Nosipho, Nosipho informed her that she did everything above board. Nosipho subsequently stopped taking Hlatshwayo’s calls and blocked her on all social media platforms,” she explained.

Deputy state attorney Zanele Nhlayisi, who investigated the matter, found that Nosipho authorised several invoices by Ntandokazi 31 Trading, which reflected an e-mail address with Phindile’s name.

Nosipho had authorised payments amounting to R4.4m to Ntandokazi 31 Trading.

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She resigned from the Office of the State Attorney after disciplinary action was instituted against her.

Nosipho, Phindile and Ntandokazi 31 Trading have been ordered to pay the Gauteng health MEC more than R4.45m including interest at the prescribed rate.

The Saturday Star

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