Fraud case against Gupta-linked North West health head postponed

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The fraud case against the Gupta-linked former head of the Department of Health in the North West, Dr Andrew Lekalakala, has been postponed due to his ill health.

Lekalakala appeared in the North West High Court on Monday where his defence attorney provided the court with a medical certificate.

He is facing two charges of fraud, one of contravening the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and another, in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (PRECCA).

The charges relate to alleged fraudulent awarding of a contract for mobile clinics to Mediosa Health Pty (Ltd) in February 2017, a company linked to the Gupta family.

The mobile clinics were meant to service rural communities in the North West.

A similar project was already being implemented in the Free State and Lekalakala, as the then accounting officer, allegedly decided to use the same contract and apply the Treasury regulations that allow for the participation in an existing contract arranged by another organ of state, with the same contract terms.

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National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson Henry Mamothame said it was, however, discovered that the awarding of this contract did not comply with Treasury regulations and the project was not budgeted for.

“The accused also falsely indicated during a management meeting that the service by Mediosa Health was a National Department of Health initiative that would be rolled out to other provinces. He further lied that there was compliance with the Treasury regulations,” Mamothame said.

“Mediosa Health allegedly received an upfront payment of R30 million and Lekalakala is alleged to have received gratification in a form of a trip to India, accompanied by his spouse and his associates. The state also intends proving that the service level agreement was signed on this trip and not at the Department of Health offices.”

Mamothame said the state is expected to call its second witness when the trial commences on 3 October.

Meanwhile, Lekalakala is still out on R5,000 bail which has been extended until his next court appearance.

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