/ 17 April 2008

KZN health dept complains about Scorpions raid

The KwaZulu-Natal health department has lodged a complaint against the Scorpions following search-and-seizure raids and alleged leaks to local media, a departmental spokesperson said on Thursday.

”The department of health has launched a complaint against the KwaZulu-Natal branch of the Scorpions to the national director of public prosecutions following their search-and-seizure operation as well as the damaging leaks to the Mercury [newspaper] about its officials and the MEC [provincial minister],” spokesperson Chris Maxon said.

Scorpions spokesperson Tlali Tlali said he was not immediately aware of the complaint.

He had confirmed last week Wednesday that the department was the subject of a Scorpions investigation and that the offices of Dr Busi Nyembezi — the then suspended head of department — had been raided on April 11, during which a mammogram machine was seized.

At the time he said: ”There is a currently under way a DSO-authorised [Directorate of Special Operations, or Scorpions] investigation involving the department. We conducted a search-and-seizure operation at the premises of the department. The machine was consequently seized on the strength of the search warrant.”

Maxon said on Thursday that ”damaging” reports had been published about health department officials who were about to be arrested.

He said: ”The department has held discussions with the Scorpions following the search and seizure wherein we expressed our concern with the manner in which the search was carried out.

”We are also concerned with the unprofessional conduct that is displayed by the Scorpions in conducting a trial by the media and performing to the political gallery. It is our belief that this conduct infringes on the rights of those whose names appear in the smear article leaked to the Mercury.” — Sapa