21 December 2012

Zambia: U.S. Court Pursues Zambian Woman for Fraud

A UNITED States of America (US) court has issued a warrant of arrest against a Zambian woman who allegedly defrauded Medicaid, a US Government health care benefit programme, of US$1,062,370 (about K5.2 billion).

Patricia Mubanga Chisanga is being sought by the US district court of Columbia, which issued the warrant on November 7, this year.

Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Maxwell Nkole announced that a US court had issued the warrant against Ms Chisanga for crimes she allegedly committed while working for Medicaid, a medical equipment company in the US.

Mr Nkole said Ms Chisanga had consequently been placed on 'Interpol Red Alert' for allegedly defrauding Medicaid from January 2008 to March 2011 in Columbia.

"Chisanga whilst acting together with the owner of the medical equipment company altered documentation received from physicians to make it appear as if physicians requested expensive wheelchairs and other supplies for their patients when in fact not," Mr Nkole said.

Ms Chisanga allegedly used a facsimile to send falsified physicians' orders for expensive wheelchairs worth more than $12,000.

She and others are alleged to be responsible for fraudulent submissions to Medicaid of $525,185 and more than $480,272 for false wheelchair claims.

She also claimed more than $44,913 for uncontrolled supplies that were never delivered to Medicaid beneficiaries.

"In a letter written by the United States Government dated 12th December, 2012, the US has requested the Zambian Government to arrest and extradite the accused person for four offences which include conspiracy to commit health care fraud, false statements relating to health care and wire fraud," Mr Nkole said.

He said an Interpol red alert together with an indictment and written depositions setting out the action to be taken once the fugitive was traced had since been availed to his ministry.

He has since passed on all the documents to the Inspector General of Police to search for the suspect in conjunction with the Immigration Department.

Mr Nkole advised Ms Chisanga to own up and report herself to the criminal investigations department at police headquarters or any police station if she does not want to be placed in the media as a wanted person.

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