Doctor bust for fraudulent grant claims

Vuyolwethu Sangotsha

Vuyolwethu Sangotsha

A medical doctor and his co-accused will appear in the Port Elizabeth commercial crimes court today on charges of fraud involving social security grants.

Dr Adekumle Fagbuyi and Ntomboxolo Makeleni are facing charges of defrauding the state of about R440676.

It is alleged that the doctor and his co-accused operated a scam which targeted unemployed people and low-income earners in the Nelson Mandela Metro and surrounding areas. It is alleged they encouraged people to apply for disability grants even though they did not qualify.

"Accused number two [Makeleni] would approach and encourage unemployed and low-income earners to apply for a disability grant," reads the charge sheet.

The charge sheet further alleges that Makeleni would inform the applicants that they could arrange a disability grant for a fee, even though they do not qualify.

In addition, it also claimed that she would arrange medical documentation indicating that the applicants are TB sufferers and should approach Fagbuyi.

Fagbuyi would reportedly recommend people organised by Makeleni to the Department of Social Development on the grounds that the applicants were eligible candidates for the grants without even examining them or seeing them in person.

The state alleges that Makeleni would collect the money from the applicants and pay Fagbuyi to complete a fraudulent medical report.

"We want to send a clear message to the public that fraud and theft within the social grants system will not be tolerated. Anyone found guilty will be prosecuted no matter what status he or she occupies in society," said the South African Social Security Agency regional executive manager Sakhumzi Yawa.

Both accused were charged with 83 counts of fraud and theft under section 51 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 105 of 1997.