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Litigation: State Attorney official ordered to pay back R4.5m

A former State Attorney official together with a family member and an associate have been ordered by the Special Tribunal to pay back R4.5m they allegedly defrauded from the Gauteng Department of Health. A TimesLIVE report says the official, Nosipho Zibani, her sister Phindile Zibani and their, associate Yolanda Tebogo Hlatshwayo, face a criminal investigation after Judge Lebogang Modiba ordered law enforcement should investigate them. The incidents date back to between 2016 and 2017 when Nosipho is alleged to have created ‘fictitious and bogus’ medico-legal claims to defraud the Health Department.

Modiba handed down the judgment as a default judgment after the defendants either failed to file an answering affidavit or fully comply with the court. ‘Hlatshwayo did not file a notice of intention to defend. For this reason, she was effectively barred from defending these proceedings in terms of rule 13(3). The Zibani defendants filed their notice of intention to defend but failed to file their plea. They, too, became effectively barred from defending these proceedings in terms of the same rule,’ Modiba said in her judgment. She ordered that the defendants pay for the costs of the proceedings. She declared that Nosipho’s pension benefits held with the Government Employees Pension Fund, which were preserved in terms of the Tribunal’s order granted on 10 October 2020, be forfeited to the Gauteng Health MEC to the extent of her indebtedness. Modiba also ordered that Nosipho, who is an attorney, should be investigated by the Legal Practice Council. She referred Hlatshwayo to the SA Nursing Council for its attention and investigation.

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