DR. LUKOJI HAS NO CON­TRAC­TUAL RE­LA­TION­SHIP WITH SWAZI MED

Swazi Observer - - NATIONAL NEWS - By Sandile Nkam­bule

SMART Clinic’s Dr. Tshi­bungu Jean Lukoji who was sus­pended from di­rect pay­ment by Swazi Med has ar­gued that he was not given a fair hear­ing be­fore he was sus­pended.

In his ur­gent ap­pli­ca­tion, to have his sus­pen­sion lifted, he ar­gued that he was not given a fair hear­ing since he was only called for a meet­ing and later served with the let­ter of sus­pen­sion.

Mak­ing his sub­mis­sions through his Lawyer Thu­lani Sibandze yes­ter­day, he said he had ex­pected to be given time to call his wit­nesses and seek le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion ar­gu­ing that the re­spon­dent (Swazi Med) did not fol­low the le­gal process for a hear­ing be­fore sanc­tion­ing the sus­pen­sion.

He felt that the hear­ing was sup­posed to be in a form of a dis­ci­plinary one where the ac­cused per­son is given a chance to call his wit­nesses and seek le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

How­ever, be­fore the mat­ter could pro­ceed any fur­ther, High Court Judge Sipho Nkosi won­dered how Dr. Lukoji ex­pected such to hap­pen since he had no con­trac­tual re­la­tion­ship with the re­spon­dent but only pro­vided ser­vices to the re­spon­dents’ mem­bers.

Judge Nkosi said Swazi Med only had re­la­tions with its mem­bers, who only con­sulted doc­tors of their own choice who in turn pro­vided ser­vices to them be­fore a claim from the mem­bers’ funds could be filed and pro­cessed.

Sibandze ex­plained that Dr. Lukoji sub­mit­ted aca­demic cre­den­tials to Swazi Med and such was viewed as a con­tract, how­ever, the court dis­missed this.

Judge Nkosi said such would only be done for pur­poses of con­firm­ing that a doc­tor was in­deed qual­i­fied to pro­vide ser­vices for its mem­bers and that he or she was reg­is­tered wit the Med­i­cal and Den­tal Coun­cil in the coun­try.

Swazi Med in the Prin­ci­pal Of­fi­cer Peter Sime­lane’s af­fi­davit, sub­mit­ted that the med­i­cal aid fund does not in any way have any con­trac­tual re­la­tion­ship with Dr. Lukoji, hence they in­vited him to the meet­ing as a ser­vice provider to its mem­bers where the al­leged fraud­u­lent claims were ex­plained to him be­fore his sus­pen­sion.

Coun­sel

Judge Nkosi ad­vised that the mat­ter be post­poned to next Wed­nes­day in or­der to al­low both coun­sels to file sup­ple­men­tary af­fi­davits since the is­sue of a med­i­cal aid scheme reg­u­la­tor also came up be­fore the ar­gu­ments were taken any fur­ther.

Rep­re­sent­ing Swazi Med in the mat­ter was Se­nior Lawyer Man­gal­iso Ma­gag­ula from Ma­gag­ula/ Hlophe At­tor­neys who sub­mit­ted that dur­ing the meet­ing that was held be­tween the Swazi­land Med­i­cal Aid Scheme and Dr. Lukoji on March 8, he ad­mit­ted to have fraud­u­lently sub­mit­ted th­ese claims.

He sub­mit­ted that Dr. Lukoji ad­mit­ted to hav­ing sub­mit­ted the claims fraud­u­lently and stated that he did not know be­cause his billing was done by his clerk and he did not check the claims which were sub­mit­ted.

This is con­firmed in an an­swer­ing af­fi­davit filed by Sime­lane to the ef­fect that “He apol­o­gised and of­fered to pay back the money and also ad­mit­ted that there were ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in his claims, his claim that he was not given proper time for the hear­ing is in­cor­rect.”

He quoted Dr. Lukoji in his af­fi­davit filed in his ap­pli­ca­tion as hav­ing stated that “as soon as I was made aware on the ab­nor­mal­i­ties and re­quested to at­tend a meet­ing to dis­cuss same, I duly rep­re­sented my­self and con­firm that I was will­ing to re­fund any claims over­charged by my prac­tice and apol­o­gize pro­fusely for the oc­cur­rence,” Sime­lane quoted.

Sus­pend

Sime­lane stated that Swazi Med was com­pelled to sus­pend Dr. Lukoji for de­fraud­ing the scheme for such vast sums of money and that it was clear that he is only in­ter­ested in him­self not his pa­tients whom he is al­leged to have cheated by de­fraud­ing them and the scheme. In his ap­pli­ca­tion Dr. Lukoji sub­mit­ted that he now fears that his pri­vate prac­tice might be shut down fol­low­ing his sus­pen­sion and his chil­dren who are in univer­sity might drop out due to fi­nan­cial con­strains fol­low­ing his sus­pen­sion.

The Manzini based doc­tor has run to court chal­leng­ing his sus­pen­sion as a di­rect payee and seeks an or­der of court to have the sus­pen­sion lifted and set aside.

The mat­ter has been post­poned to next Wed­nes­day for full-blown ar­gu­ments be­tween the two par­ties.

WON­DERED: High Court Judge Sipho Nkosi.

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