Fraught with Corruption: Eastern Cape Health Department Grilled by Forensic Investigation

Lucas Gilmore, “Big 4″ observer
March 08, 2011 /

PricewaterhouseCoopers’s forensic investigation has led to conclude that the department of health of Eastern Cape, South Africa lost more than $6.5 million (R45 million) in the last couple of years due to fraud and corruption committed by officials in top levels of the government.

The forensic investigation all pointed to specific issues that have been unraveled mostly in the department’s tenders and contracts, according to health department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo.

In a contract involving air ambulance alone, losses from corruption amounted to more than $1.8 million (R13 million) while another $2 million (R14 million) which was supposed to be allocated for keeping medical facilities and infrastructure went with the wind.

Kupelo said more than $2.6 million (R18 million) in procurements have been given to 35 companies that are owned by government officials as shown in the report.

PricewaterhouseCoopers began working on the forensic investigation since 2010 and covered the recent fiscal years before coming up with the report.

As of this time, government officials who were tagged in corruption and fraud allegations have already been suspended while the others opted to resign. A separate forensic investigation will also be launched on Port Elizabeth medical depot which delivers medical supplies to Eastern Cape.

The depot was reported to have caused delays in supply delivery due to the same allegations of corruption. As a result, several medical facilities flooded the depot with complaints about supplies that were already distributed but got waylaid for this reason.

Kupelo cited the depot staff as saying some medical supplies were sent to facilities that had never placed their orders.

PwC’s forensic investigation pointed to incomplete medical supplies sent to hospitals that placed the actual orders.

 

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