Netcare fined for illicit transplants
Johannesburg - Netcare [JSE:NTC] on Tuesday confirmed that it had pleaded guilty to contravening sections of the Human Tissue Act and the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, and had paid fines relating to illicit organ transplants at its St Augustine's Hospital in Durban.
The listed healthcare group said that under a plea agreement it was fined R20 000 for contravening sections of the Human Tissue Act.
It was also fined R4m for receiving money from kidney transplants and participating in unlawful activities under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.
It also paid R3.8m in a confiscation order for benefiting from the illegal operations.
The charges against Netcare and its CEO Dr Richard Friedland have been unconditionally withdrawn, it said.
Netcare and Friedland had been charged with a number of offences arising from organ transplants performed by several doctors at the St Augustine's Hospital between June 2001 and November 2003.
"Netcare has concluded that certain employees of Netcare KwaZulu must have been aware that illegal operations were performed at the St Augustine's Hospital, that certain employees participated in these illegalities and Netcare KwaZulu wrongly benefited from the proceeds of these operations," it said.
"The conduct of these employees is legally attributable to Netcare KwaZulu, notwithstanding that they disregarded Netcare's internal policies and protocols governing non-related live organ transplants and the guidelines issued by the department of health," Netcare said.
It said that none of the offending staffers remained in its employ, and that the last of the illegal transplants had been performed in 2003.
Since then it has tightened up on guidelines and procedures, it said.