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By Kyle Zeeman

Digital News Editor

No matric certificate! – Senior health official released on R30k bail

The official is reportedly set to appear in the Zwelitsha Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

A senior Eastern Cape health department official has been nabbed for fraud and forgery.

Sizwe Kupelo appeared in the Zwelitsha Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, where he was released on R30 000 bail.

Kupelo was appointed by the Department of Health in Bhisho as a Deputy Director of Communications in 2002.

According to the Hawks, a skills and qualifications audit by the health department found that Kupelo did not have a matric certificate but had instead submitted a fake certificate during his employment.

Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) spokesperson warrant officer Ndiphiwe Mhlakuvana told The Citizen Kupelo handed himself over to the Hawks on Wednesday morning in the presence of his lawyers.

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It cames after a lengthy investigation into alleged fraud, including a search of his residence last year.

“I cannot confirm how long we have been investigating him but late last year we went to his residence to conduct a search, after a lead in the investigation. Today we can confirm his arrest”.

Health department sick with corruption

The department revealed it had opened 47 cases of corruption against health officials since January last year.

Of these, 15 were in the Eastern Cape – the highest number for any province in the country.

ALSO READ: Provincial Health Departments records nearly 50 corruption cases

Responding to a written parliamentary question, Health Minister Joe Phaahla revealed his department had concluded four cases in the Eastern Cape, while three are still under investigation.

“There is one case in which there was insufficient evidence to substantiate the allegations of corruption. In the seven remaining cases, the investigation process is underway,” he said.

According to the minister, the amount of funds lost to alleged corrupt activities in the province had not been yet quantified.

However, the department had lost R2.8 million in the Free State and R1.2 million in Limpopo.

Additional reporting by Molefe Seeletsa.

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