Nicolette Dirk, finance writer, Justmoney.co.za
The Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF) and its member medical schemes are extremely concerned at the allegations of corruption within the Office of the Registrar of medical schemes.
This comes amid reports that the BHF has called for an investigation against registrar, Monwabisi Gantsho, into an R817 000 default judgment obtained against him by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) two years ago.
The judgment, which was verified by SARS, showed that Gantsho owed R514 077 in income tax and R313 728 in interest.
Reports further stated that the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) launched a forensic investigation into claims that Gantsho, asked for a R3 million kickback.
“We commend and support the swift action taken by the CMS, which involved establishing an independent forensic investigation and suspending the Registrar. As the custodian of an industry which collects R113 billion annually from members of the public, it is of utmost importance that the Regulator is beyond reproach,” said Dr Humphrey Zokufa, managing director of BHF.
Heidi Kruger, BHF head of corporate communications, said that in addition to the current allegations levelled against the Registrar, the BHF hoped that the investigation will probe the 2012 SARS tax judgment against the Registrar, especially as he continued to hold office thereafter.
Other concerns regarding allegations against Gantsho
According to Kruger, the BHF were also concerned about the heavy-handed approach Gantsho took when it came to the industry.
“If he is found guilty of these allegations he should be removed from office. While R3 million is not a big amount, it still gives the industry a bad reputation as it involves members’ money,” said Kruger.
Tougher regulations on trustees
Kruger said that regulating trustees was a challenge and the corporate governance needed to be tightened up. She added that when it comes to corporate governance, there needs to be stricter standards for eligible trustees in terms of conflict of interest as well as what trustees get paid.
“The BHF reminds public officials involved in the health funding environment as well as trustees and employees of medical schemes that they have been entrusted with member funds and should therefore be cognizant at all times of their responsibility to safeguard these funds,” said Kruger.