North West health chief Thabo Lekalakala arrested over Gupta-linked payments

Thabo Lekalakala‚ the suspended head of the North West health department‚ appeared in the Molopo magistrate’s court on Friday in connection with the fraudulent appointment of Gupta-linked company Mediosa.

Lekalakala’s appearance followed his arrest on Friday morning by the Hawks. He was arrested for fraud‚ corruption and contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.

In February 2018, concerns were raised as to why Lekalakala was still in his job‚ despite a recommendation by the provincial legislature that he be suspended immediately for his role in a premature R30m payment to Mediosa.

“The arrest stems from an investigation into the alleged fraudulent appointment of Cureva‚ which was later known as Mediosa‚ as a service provider of mobile clinics to service rural areas in the province‚” Hawks spokesperson Brig Hangwani Mulaudzi said.

It is alleged that Mediosa was appointed by Lekalakala without following proper tender procedures.

“Instead‚ he allegedly signed a service-level agreement while on a trip in India. It transpired that a family member and friends allegedly accompanied him on the trip funded by Mediosa‚” Mulaudzi said.

In addition‚ the service provider was allegedly paid an upfront amount of R30m soon after signing the service agreement.

Mulaudzi said the accused was released on R5‚000 bail and the matter was postponed until February 12.

Mulaudzi said corruption-related matters were part of the mandate of the Hawks‚ which would ensure that the perpetrators were dealt with decisively.

Source: Business Day by Ernest Mabuza, 6 December 2019 (https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/health/2019-12-06-north-west-health-chief-thabo-lekalakala-arrested-over-gupta-linked-payments/)