Ex-trustees of Bonitas want their jobs back
The former trustees of Bonitas Medical Fund are trying to get themselves reinstated, and the scheme’s acting principal officer is trying to block the report of an investigation into the scheme’s marketing company.
The Council for Medical Schemes, meanwhile, may resume an application for the scheme’s curatorship, the Registrar of Medical Schemes, Dr Monwabisi Gantsho, says.
In January, the council applied to the South Gauteng High Court to put Bonitas under curatorship because it was involved in an incomplete property development in KwaZuluNatal and other investments that put about R80 million of members’ money at risk.
The application was delayed by the intervention of Bonitas’s administrator, Medscheme. The council then took legal action to remove the board of trustees.
When the board tried to oppose this action, the court found it did not have a quorum and removed it. The court put Gerhard van Emmenis, the scheme’s acting principal officer, and Joseph Maluleke, a compliance officer, in charge of the scheme.
But, in a lawyer’s letter sent last week to Van Emmenis and Maluleke, the trustees asked for their powers to be returned to them, saying they now have a quorum. The letter says the number of trustees required for a quorum was reduced in an amendment to Bonitas’s rules approved by Gantsho in October.
The trustees’ action may, however, be thwarted by an appeal against the amendment brought by a member of the scheme.
Gantsho says the appeal has the effect of suspending the rule change until the matter is heard.
But Bongani Mpungose, who was the chairman of the board, says the trustees will pursue whatever means possible to get back in control of the scheme and will question the suspension of the rule change.
Mpungose says a disgruntled former employee, Raymond Mkhize, is tarnishing the trustees’ names.
According to Personal Finance’s sister newspaper the Sunday Independent, Mkhize was the managing director of Bonitas’s marketing company before he was dismissed on charges of misconduct. The marketing company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bonitas.
The Council for Medical Schemes investigated the marketing company on the basis of Mkhize’s allegations.
But late last week, the marketing company, led by Van Emmenis, launched an urgent high court application to block the contents of the inspection report, arguing that the council had no right to inspect the company.
The matter was postponed until February next year, and in the interim, Gantsho says, the council may not use the report. However, he says, this does not prevent the council from acting in the best interests of members based on the allegations it has been given.