Just how honest is Minister Madigele?

Dikarabo Ramadubu - BG reporter
Tuesday, 02 April 2019
Just how honest is Minister Madigele?

Dr. Tawanda Mashinya of Zeta Medical Day Care Clinic - who recently won a case to have his practice back - has robbed patients, medical aid schemes and institutions huge sums of money, says his partner and main antagonist,  Dr. Alfred Madigele. Dr. Mashinya recently won his court application against the Director of Health Services who had revoked his practicing licence.

But Madigele, who incidentally is also Minister of Health, says that the Zimbabwean national obtained or defrauded numerous organisations through clandestine schemes at the CBD-based Zeta Clinic, which they co-own as shareholders and directors. Dr. Madigele accuses Dr. Mashinya of colluding with service providers and using the clinic as a conduit for illegal activities, which improper and disgraceful conduct contravenes the professional ethical code of conduct.

Dr. Mashinya’s alleged unprofessional conduct has been reported to President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi who in turn approached Dr. Madigele and questioned him about the conduct of his private clinic.This publication has documents that show that Mashinya has been running a laboratory service outside the scope of Zeta Clinic licence.

He achieved this through colluding with other professionals to defraud the patients through alleged falsified lab requests.  The documents show that he also defrauded Medical Aid schemes and institutions (names withheld) by doing unnecessary blood tests, a matter that has potential to put the lives of clients in danger. Mashinya is alleged to have acted and or defrauded Zeta client, Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) through procurement of medicines and other related consumables.

It is alleged that Mashinya formed a shadow company that made business with BAC under the umbrella of Zeta. Based on the above and other issues, Zeta Board led by Madigele suspended Mashinya pending disciplinary hearing. It also reported the matter to Botswana Health Professionals Council (BHPC) which is also investigating.

Dr. Mashinya’s licence to practice under Zeta was revoked by the Director of Health Services on 01 February 2019 subsequent to a request from Madigele in his private capacity as owner and chairman of the clinic board on 31st January 2019. Madigele also wrote to Director of Immigration and Citizenship informing them that the work permit which he applied for Dr. Mashinya under the guarantee of Zeta is invalid.

Suspension
Dr. Mashinya was suspended from duty on 30 January 2019 with full benefits pending investigation of allegations levelled against him. Among others these included misappropriation of company funds, gross misconduct related to attendance at work while under the influence of intoxicating substance and dishonest practice with potential to bring Zeta Clinic into disrepute.

A special general meeting of Zeta was held on 1st February 2019 with only one agenda item being the removal of Mashinya as director of Zeta. Dr. Mashinya was allegedly given the right to address the members on the allegations levelled against him. Minister Madigele confirmed this.

Speaking to Botswana Guarduan Madigele explained that he started the clinic with him but just after “I became minister I roped him in so that he can continue with the operation work as I was being held busy by political work. The clinic is operating under my private practice license”. 

He said that Dr. Mashinya does not have a private practice license to operate in Gaborone, but he has been allowed to work under “my license by the Director of Health Services after I requested such”.   Madigele said the clinic has been operational for several years until last year when “we started receiving complaints from patients that he (Mashinya) would sometime smell intoxicated especially in the evenings. Others claimed they would feel that he had consumed some drinks”.

Late last year Madigele was called by President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi to explain if he was operating a laboratory at his clinic. He denied this because his private practice license does not have such a provision. He explained to the president that they refer patients for blood tests to Diagnofirm and continue the management of the illness once results have been obtained.

But Madigele says that since he was not aware of the goings-on at the clnic, he decided to conduct his own investigation after the president’s call. “I found that indeed he (Mashinya) was running a laboratory in my service where he collected blood samples and liaised with an external lab to process those tests”. This practice is not allowed under Zeta’s license; it also compromises patients’ safety and care because there is no assurance of the quality of the tests in terms of the times to transport the blood specimens to the laboratory.

Madigele says he also found out that there was collusion between practitioner and a laboratory service. “The two parties would collude to have as many tests done on a patient so that the practitioner can get money in terms of fees and commissions paid by laboratory service,” he said. Madigele said this has been confirmed but they have not established the amount of monies that has exchanged hands in this illegal transaction.

Fraud
In early January 2019 Madigele had a contract with BAC for provision of medical services to students and staff. “I have been running this clinic since 2010; the agreement is that we provide service while BAC buys the medicines and the consumables. “So each time when we realise that there is shortage, we make up a list of those items in shortage then submit it to BCA, they in turn request us to look for three quotations so that the normal procurement process ensues.

“It has come to light that Mashinya has formed a clandestine company behind the scenes and incidentally it shares the same name and domicile with Zeta Clinic in terms of address. “It shares the same landline in terms of telephonic conversation. So what he has been doing is that he “cooks” or forges two quotations so that he also submits his after playing around with the figures so that his company wins the tender”.

Madigele says he only got to realise this after one of the organisation’s employees told him that they suspect something because the vote for medicines and consumables was getting depleted quickly.

Action
Since the alleged fraud is being committed under Zeta’s licence Madigele approached his lawyers who advised him to suspend Dr. Mashinya pending hearing.  He also reported the matter to Botswana Health Professional Council (BHPC) and requested that they investigate. Dr Mashinya protested that he is a shareholder and cannot be fired.  That’s when Madigele sought intervention of Director of Health Services to revoke Dr. Mashinya’s license pending investigations by BHPC.

Report to Masisi
In January 2019 Madigele reported to President Masisi what has since transpired and action taken. “Dr. Mashinya has committed fraud, I was waiting for the BHPC investigation, then I can report him to the police or they report him to the police”.

Court appearance
Madigele said that Mashinya never served him with papers when he went to court but instead he served the ministry because “I was appearing as a doctor from the clinic.  “I only came to know about the case after it was decided in court”. The Registrar of BHPC Maruping Maruping confirmed having received a formal report from Madigele around February of improper conduct.

“We have since written to Dr. Mashinya to give his side of the story, but he is not easy to get hold of by phone as it continues to ring but unattended. His letter still awaits him in our office”. Attorney Basimane Bogopa of Bogopa Manewe Attorneys confirmed that his company represents Zeta Clinic. He said as attorney of records they were never served with court documents and that “we got the court documents from our client Dr. Madigele on Tuesday this week”.  All efforts to contact Dr. Mashinya were futile as his phone rang continuously unattended and he was physically not at the clinic.

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