Picture: iSTOCK
Picture: iSTOCK

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and the Eastern Cape health department have stopped R39m in payments to an attorney after he was recently charged with fraud, as part of an ongoing national probe into bogus claims for medical negligence.

The department is grappling with soaring medico-legal claims against the state, fueled, in part, by fraud.

The problem is nationwide, but the Eastern Cape has been particularly hard hit: its health department faced a massive R8.4bn spike in medical negligence claims in 2017/2018, taking its total to R24.17bn, more than a quarter of the total R80.4bn in claims leveled against the state during the past financial year.

Attorney Zuko Nonxuba was arrested and charged with leveling fraudulent medico-legal claims in excess of R90m last month, following an investigation by the SIU and the Eastern Cape health department.

He was released on R80,000 bail, but then called the sheriff in Centurion, Gauteng demanding payments of R26m and R13m, according to a statement released on Tuesday evening by the SIU. The SIU and the department obtained a court order to stop the payments.

Said the SIU, “The investigation into fraudulent medico-legal claims is ongoing and based on the evidence gathered thus far, we expect more arrests in due course.”