Couple implicates Ramaphosa in allegations of fraud involving medical schemes

National Renal Care, a South African company jointly owned by Netcare and Adcock, has been accused of allegedly practising under a false number that belonged to a clinical technologist who was registered under the Health Professions Act and regulated by the Health Professions Council of SA. Picture: Supplied/NRC Website

National Renal Care, a South African company jointly owned by Netcare and Adcock, has been accused of allegedly practising under a false number that belonged to a clinical technologist who was registered under the Health Professions Act and regulated by the Health Professions Council of SA. Picture: Supplied/NRC Website

Published Feb 18, 2024


PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa allegedly benefited from fraud and corruption involving medical schemes, according to business partners Yusuf and his wife, Charlnita Cassiem.

The duo have revealed how Ramaphosa allegedly benefited from the medical schemes' corruption while he was the chairperson of the Bidvest Group.

They detailed this in affidavits submitted to the Constitutional Court fighting against the closure of their private care facility that was performing hemodialysis for patients belonging to various medical aid schemes.

Previously, they said they found out about the allegations after Charlnita, a former nurse at Netcare, opened the private care centre.

They said this in their documents that were submitted to the Western Cape High Court Equality, where they also said the National Renal Care (NRC), which is a wholly South African company jointly owned by Netcare and Adcock, was practising under a false number that belonged to a clinical technologist who was registered under the Health Professions Act and regulated by the Health Professions Council of SA.

The clinical technologist, according to the couple, was not a doctor but an auxiliary service to medical practitioners.

The pair said Ramaphosa allegedly benefited through laundering the capital market company BB Investment’s shareholding in Adcock Ingram, which owns 50% indirect shares in the NRC via Dilwed Investment.

BB Investment is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bidvest Group, which acquired beneficial interests in Adcock in 2013.

Ramaphosa, who has shares in Bidvest, was appointed the chairperson of the group in 2004 and resigned in 2013 after he was elected as the deputy president of the ANC in December 2012.

The couple alleged that Ramaphosa received the BEE shares from Bidvest as the middleman who assisted the company to have full control over Adcock while their business was unfairly closed.

Asked to comment on the allegations, Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya and BB Investment did not respond.

Adcock's secretary and head of legal, Lucy Phalafala, said the company endorsed NRC’s response that it would not entertain “these spurious and unfounded” allegations by the Cassiems.

“We continue to emphasise that neither NRC nor Adcock Ingram has ever been involved in any form of money laundering. Nor has Adcock Ingram or NRC been mentioned in any report by the State Capture Commission or been asked to make submissions or respond to the commission in any way.

“Adcock Ingram is therefore of the firm opinion that the damaging and defamatory allegations made are completely false and without merit. We support NRC in rejecting these allegations with contempt and (together with NRC) will robustly pursue the relevant course of action to ensure that the individuals behind these defamatory and baseless claims are held fully accountable for their actions,” said Phalafala.

The Bidvest Group said its answer was contained in Adcock’s response as a subsidiary of the group.

NRC chief executive officer Dr Chevon Clark said NRC emphasised once again that it had never engaged in any form of money laundering nor entertained any association with illicit activities, including state capture.

“We view these allegations in the most serious light, and respectfully request that any reporting on this matter refrain from perpetuating defamatory falsehoods that unjustly tarnish our reputation,” she said.

In the affidavit, Charlnita said directors of Dilwed and NRC, had no health qualifications, and that was a violation of section 22 of the Constitution.

She claimed that these directors got away with the alleged fraud and alleged that Ramaphosa benefited from this through Bidvest which used BB Investment in Adcock that owns shares in Dilwed. Dilwed also holds shares in NRC.

Charlnita said Ramaphosa and the former chief executive allegedly signed off on the financials of Bidvest knowing they were receiving income from Adcock, which was generating income through alleged money laundering from NRC.

Charlnita said this alleged corruption resulted in Discovery and Bonitas denying her the right to treat members while they allegedly earned income from NRC’s alleged money laundering.

Discovery Health chief executive Dr Ron Whelan said they were not aware of the application, adding that they have liaised with their legal team to establish whether the company has been notified of the new application made by the Cassiems to the Constitutional Court.

“We can confirm that we are unaware of this new application and have no record of this application being filed on Discovery Health,”said Whelan.

Whelan added that the application appeared to have the same concerns as the previous application brought before the Constitutional Court in 2021.

“As you know, the prior application to the Constitutional Court was dismissed on the grounds that the application constituted an inappropriate direct approach to the Constitutional Court and did not raise a constitutional issue nor an arguable point of law.

We will consider the matter further once we have received notice of the new application that has been to the Constitutional Court by Yusuf Cassiem and Charlnita Cassiem,’’ Whelan said.

Bonitas’ principal officer Lee Callakoppen said they were aware that these types of allegations have been made by the Cassiems at least since 2017, primarily against the Government Employment Medical Scheme (GEMS).

Callakoppen said the allegations have been ventilated numerous times before various courts, including High Courts, the Supreme Court of Appeal, the Constitutional Court, the Competition Tribunal and the Equality Court.

“We are further aware that Mrs Cassiem (Charlnita), who is a registered nurse, is currently facing proceedings for over-billing before the Nursing Council of South Africa. The matter is still under consideration.

“As Bonitas, we reject with utter contempt the allegations made against Bonitas by the Cassiems, and state that these are completely without basis and are devoid of truth.

“Bonitas reserves its rights to take the appropriate legal action should it become necessary, and to hold the Cassiems responsible for any damage caused to Bonitas as a result of their unsubstantiated and unwarranted statements,’’ said Callakoppen.

He said Bonitas has also instructed its attorneys to oppose the Cassiems’ “ill-conceived application” before the Constitutional Court.

Charlnita also questioned if this was the reason why Ramaphosa appeared at the State Capture Commission of Inquiry as president and not as a businessman.

She also questioned if this was the reason her submission to the commission was swept under the carpet because it would expose Bidvest and the elite whites in South Africa.

“We, as South Africans, heard how the State Capture Commission under the testimony of South African Airways stated that Bidvest was one of the companies that suffered with tenders under state capture of SAA and the Comair saga, yet Bidvest is allegedly involved in one of the largest money laundering syndicates in private healthcare that spans nearly 20 years, long before former president Jacob Zuma was in charge.

“Mr Zuma has gone to jail already and these entities and whites are roaming the streets, not charged,” she said.

Asked for comment, the commission’s secretary, Professor Itumeleng Mosala, did not respond.

Charlnita added that the matter was referred to the Council for Medical Schemes’ (CMS) Section 59 inquiry into racial discrimination against black healthcare providers but the state swept her evidence and submissions under the carpet.

The CMS on Thursday acknowledged questions from the Sunday Independent and said they had been referred to the scheme for comment.

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