New unit to probe health sector fraud

Photo: File

An anti-corruption forum has been launched to deal with fraud in the national health sector.

The forum was launched by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies.

The SIU said the health sector had been prioritised for investigation due to its susceptibility to corruption.

“Activities include fraudulent claims by doctors, pharmaceutical companies inflating prices, hijacking of ambulances and attacks on paramedics,” said SIU spokesperson Andy Mothibi.

Mothibi said an assessment was made before deciding whether to investigate corruption in this sector.

“We are starting with the health sector because it impacts on the lives of people,” he said.

Research has shown that fraudulent claims, absenteeism, and over-billing by service providers were rife in the sector.

The SIU has previously focused on local government, construction, mining, transport and the finance sector.

The SIU was established in 1996 to investigate serious malpractices or maladministration in the administration of the state, as well as any conduct which may seriously harm the interests of the public.

Mothibi said the unit could summon individuals to account and, where there was a need, they could recommend arrests and prosecution.

Other law enforcement agencies involved in the health sector anti-corruption forum include the Hawks, SARS, the national prosecuting authority, SAPS and Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

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  AUTHOR
Thato Mahlangu

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