Law catches up with fraudulent service provider

Monday, November 15, 2010
By: 
Kemantha Govender

Durban - Thirty-two-year-old Sibongiseni Gcwensa appeared in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court on Monday for allegedly defrauding the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department of nearly R20 million.

Gcwensa is said to have colluded with employees from the Department of Health and has been charged with fraud and corruption. The department and the police are investigating fraud of around R20 million which is suspected to have been paid to him.
He is a service provider that was contracted by the department to provide cleaning and security services at various hospitals.

Department spokesperson Chris Maxon said Gcwensa allegedly received assistance from government employees to make fraudulent claims for work that was not done.

When confronted with the allegations and asked to name his accomplices, the accused refused and was arrested on Friday evening by the South African Police Service's Commercial Crimes Unit.

Maxon told BuaNews that in addition to the police investigation, the department was also on a mission to identify the employees.

Health Department head, Sibongile Zungu, said: "Corruption costs the government millions every year, money that could have been spent on delivering health services. Where resources are scarce and many people need those resources, corruption can often set in."

The department hoped to make significant strides in reducing fraud and corruption risks through existing and new rigorous preventive measures.

There are twenty-four other high priority cases currently under investigation. The value of money allegedly lost to irregularities, fraud and corruption is estimated to be more than R1 billion.

According to the Health Department's Chief Financial Officer, Ndoda Biyela, the investigations range from human resources irregularity, supply chain management, overtime fraud and nepotism.

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