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Regulator to probe Liberty chair

Jan 30 2013 18:44 Sapa

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Johannesburg - The chairperson of the Liberty Medical Scheme has failed in his effort to prevent the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) from investigating him, the regulatory body said on Wednesday.

CMS said Daniel Pienaar approached the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in March 2012 to try and stop it from continuing with its investigation into allegations which, if proven true, would hold him not fit to manage the affairs of the scheme.

On January 15, the court dismissed Pienaar's interdict application with costs.

The court also rejected his allegations against the CMS, the council said in a statement.

CMS said Pienaar had been opposing the investigations since they were first instituted in December 2010.

Pienaar is being investigated for his conduct subsequent to an alleged attempt by a third party to blackmail the former CEO of Liberty Health Holdings into setting up a marketing company in which he (Pienaar) and the former chairperson of the scheme, Larry Jacques, would have shares.

Jacques resigned in June 2011, before the CMS made a final finding on his fitness, which could have seen him being removed from the board of trustees.

Liberty Health Holdings are the owners of V-Medical Administrators or V-Med, which administers Liberty Medical Scheme.

"It is not just our will to take action where poor governance is alleged; it is our duty," said CMS CEO Monwabisi Gantsho.

It would have been irresponsible for CMS to allow such serious allegations not to be investigated, he said.

"One of the remedies available to us to address governance concerns in a medical scheme is to remove trustees from office where they are found guilty of wrongdoing."

Liberty Medical Scheme had close to 150 000 beneficiaries at the end of 2011.
The claims-paying ability of the scheme remained unaffected by the investigations.

CMS is the regulator of the medical schemes industry.

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