Fraudsters target Health Department

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pretoria - An investigation by the Health Department has discovered a bogus syndicate that successfully request services from several companies under the fraudulent banner of the department.

The department revealed on Monday that the scam was uncovered after receiving numerous calls from companies claming not to have been paid for goods "supplied" at certain hospitals.

Spokesperson Fidel Radebe said in a statement that the department had also unearthed that the syndicate contacts credible companies and request that goods be supplied at selected hospitals.

"The bogus group ensures that it subjects the potential service providers to standard government procurement processes," Radebe said. Defrauded service providers were issued with illegitimate service orders accompanied by fraudulent letters with departmental letterheads. The documents at face value look genuine and credible.

These defrauded companies further claim to have delivered goods such as notebooks, computer hard drives, printers and their cartridges. Each simultaneous deliveries were reported to have worth more than R100 000.

"In actual fact, the National Department of Health does not conduct any procurement for hospital goods or services. This function remains as the competency of the provincial governments."

Radebe said procedure dictated that should there be procured goods for the National Department of Health, such goods are specifically delivered at the head office located in Pretoria.

The department has now called on companies that have interest in providing goods and services to government, particularly the National Department of Health, to always verify the purchase service order with the department by either calling the central departmental contact number or visiting the department's office for further verifications using their service order number as a reference.

Should there be any company which has been issued with such a service order, this automatically means that the company has been scammed. Should suppliers be in doubt of the service order, they must contact the department's procurement unit on (012) 312-3348/0983.