The suspended North West head of health, Thabo Lekalakala, has been charged with fraud and corruption related to the controversial mobile clinic tender dubiously awarded to the Gupta-aligned company, Mediosa.
The Hawks swooped on Lekalakala earlier today and arrested him before he made a brief appearance in the Mmabatho Magistrates’ Court in Mahikeng. He was released on R5 000 bail. He will appear in court again in February next year.
The Hawks did not say much about the charges of fraud, corruption and two counts of contravention of Public Finance Management Act but City Press understands that they relate to the controversial Mediosa mobile clinic tender which was sealed by Lekalakala.
This is a second blow for Lekalakala who was arrested in August, with the former North West finance MEC, Wendy Nelson, in relation to his “irregular” appointment as head of the department in 2014.
Even though he was alleged to have lied in the application for the job, he was recommended for an appointment by an interview panel headed by Nelson.
They were each released on R20 000 bail.
In the latest case, City Press has seen an internal communiqué of the Hawks on the planned arrest of Lekalakala.
“The allegations are that Dr Andrew Thabo Lekalakala employed by the department of health in the North West Province as the head of the department (HOD) appointed an entity by the name of Cureva, later known as Mediosa, on 2017-02-21.
Cureva/Mediosa was to provide mobile clinics to service the rural areas in North West Province,” the communiqué read.
“The service level agreement was signed by the suspect as the head of the department and one of the directors of Cureva on 2017-03-15. The suspect used Treasury regulation 16A to appoint Cureva instead of following proper tender processes.
“The service provider was paid an upfront amount of R30 million.”
Mediosa “also paid for a trip to India for the HOD, DDG [deputy director-general] Conrad Kesekwaile Motlhabane, his spouse and his friends”.
“It transpired during the investigations that the service level agreement signed on 2017-02-21 was actually signed during this trip to India and not in the department as alleged.”
According to the communiqué, “more arrests” were expected.
City Press had written a string of reports about the dubiously awarded tender to Mediosa, how it was sealed and Lekalakala’s luxury trip to India.
One of the reports detailed how the money generated from the mobile clinic contracts – started in the Free State and later in North West, and to be expanded to other provinces – was used to build a billion-dollar hospital for the rich in Dubai.
City Press learnt that the hospital, known as Dubai Healthcare City, and how money would be made from Mediosa contracts to fund it, was the brainchild of the controversial Gupta family.
Health department spokesperson in the province Tebogo Lekgethwane, said disciplinary action processes on the Mediosa contracts, among others, were still under way. Lekalakala had yet to find out his fate in the department.
“The process is expected to be finalised by the end of this month or in January next year,” Lekgethwane said.