UBH nurse ‘forges’ referral letter

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Tanaka Mrewa, Court Reporter
A NURSE at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) allegedly forged a referral letter for a patient to use in South Africa and charged her $20, a court heard.

State allegations are that Mpilo Sibanda (35) of Woodlands suburb in Bulawayo solely drafted the letter and forged a signature of one Doctor Kenge.

Sibanda pleaded not guilty to criminal abuse of office.

Bulawayo Provincial Magistrate Ms Gladmore Mushowe remanded him out of custody to April 10.

Sibanda denied the allegations saying he last heard from the patient, Lorah Mlilo, before she went to South Africa for a scan.

“I know Mlilo from our rural home. She came to me asking for assistance after hurting her hand. I referred her to a doctor who advised her to get an X-ray. She later told me that she had to get a CT scan but it was expensive. I advised her to go to South Africa where it’s cheaper. I never communicated with her after that,” said Sibanda.

Mlilo needed a referral letter to get treatment in the neighbouring country.

Testifying, Mlilo told the court that she called Sibanda while she was in South Africa and he agreed to get her a referral letter.

“Doctors in South Africa dismissed me claiming that they could only attend to me if I had the letter. I called Sibanda and he said he would get one for me. However I only got the letter after my days had expired and I had returned to Zimbabwe,” said Mlilo.

Mlilo’s mother Ms Nkosilathi Thebe told the court Mlilo called her and referred her to Sibanda for the letter.

“He told me to pay $20. I gave him the money and he disappeared into his office. He came back a few minutes later and handed me the letter,” she said.

Dr Collen Msasanure, a local doctor who saw the letter allegedly discovered it was fake.

The doctor testified that he got suspicious when he saw the signature of Dr Kenge on the letter for he knew no one by that name at UBH.

“I was surprised to see the letter bearing a signature of Dr Kenge. I made a copy of the letter and alerted the clinical director and CEO of UBH to investigate,” said Dr Msasanure.

Prosecuting, Mr Kudakwashe Jaravaza told the court that between May 16 and August 15 last year, Sibanda originated a referral letter for Mlilo to get a CT scan in South Africa.

He said the letter was intercepted by UBH while in the hands of Mlilo and the authorities alleged that it was forged.

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