Former Wits manager arrested in US

A former senior manager from the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute (WRHI) was arrested last week in the United States on allegations of money laundering.

The university would not reveal the identity of the manager but according to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) statement he has been identified as Dr. Eugene Sickle.

The Dr. was arrested in Washington DC in connection with misappropriation of funds of HIV/AIDS programmes in South Africa being supported and funded by USAID. Approximately USD 230 000, about three million in South African rands was misused.

Wits University released a statement saying the bulk of the funds would be covered by insurance and that the “project will not suffer any reduction in funding and there will be no direct loss to USAID.”

Dr. Sickle resigned last year from his position as Deputy Executive Director for the WRHI program following discovery of his potential involvement in the submission of fraudulent documents to WRHI by a third party. When he was questioned about this, he immediately resigned from his position.

According to Wits University spokesperson, Shirona Patel, as a precautionary measure, the WRHI have undertaken to review all grants and activities and no other irregularities have been found.

A criminal case has also been opened against him with the South African Police Services.