R120,000 fine for doctor who signed fake certificates: RTMC

A doctor was found guilty of five counts of contravening the Health Professions Act. Stock photo.
A doctor was found guilty of five counts of contravening the Health Professions Act. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/SAMSONOVS

A Gqeberha-based medical doctor has been censured for fraudulently issuing medical certificates required by drivers applying for professional driving permits, says the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC).

RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane said the doctor was suspended by the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA).

Dr Bongani Nqini was arrested in May 2019 after an investigation by the National Traffic Anti-Corruption Unit and the HPCSA, said Zwane.

“The investigation was prompted by complaints from the public about doctors in Zwide who were issuing medical certificates to members of the public without subjecting them to the necessary medical examinations.”

An official in the traffic unit affiliated to the RTMC, acting as an undercover agent, went to the doctor’s rooms “where he was given a sick note with five days’ leave without being examined,” said Zwane.

“He returned the day after and was given a medical certificate certifying that he was fit to apply for a public driving permit without being subjected to the necessary physical examination.”

Disciplinary action against the doctor was initiated by the HPCSA after the sting operation.

He was found guilty of five counts of contravening the Health Professions Act and fined R120,000, payable in six monthly instalments.

In addition, he was suspended from practising medicine for three years, wholly suspended for a period of five years on condition that he is not found guilty of a similar offence during the period of suspension.

Zwane said the disciplinary committee found the National Traffic Anti-Corruption Unit official who gave evidence against the doctor was “a truthful, honest and credible witness who did not change his version while under cross-examination”.

The committee further found the doctor “is directly responsible for vehicle accidents on our roads as a result of him certifying drivers fit to obtain professional driving permits without examining them”.

Zwane said the RTMC welcomed the verdict against the doctor though it believes the sentence could have been harsher to deter others from committing a similar offence.

Repeat offender

In August 2015, the local Herald newspaper reported Nqini had been handed a R40,000 fine, or two years’ imprisonment, for fraud and attempted fraud in the city's commercial crimes court. This was after Nqini was caught out in an undercover police sting operation in December 2009.

Nqini was also previously suspended in October 2010. This suspension was lifted on December 22 last year “after he followed the correct processes,” the newspaper reported.

— Members of the public are urged to report fraud and corrupt practices relating to the issuing of driving licences to ntacu@rtmc.co.za or WhatsApp 083-298-7989.

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