In the latest example of a crackdown on corruption in Qatar, a lower criminal court in Doha has sentenced a sales representative at a pharmaceutical company and an employee at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) to jail time for bribery and forging receipts and official documents, among other crimes.
The sales rep, an Egyptian expat, was ordered to serve 10 years in prison after being convicted of paying a total bribe of QR8,700 ($2,389) to a secretary of a storage room in HMC, Al Raya reported today.
The secretary, who was sentenced to seven years in jail, stamped receipts fraudulently stating that HMC purchased some QR23 million (($6.3 million) in medical supplies from the pharmaceutical company. The employee, who is from India, was also fined QR877,000($240,844).
The pharmaceutical representative in turn kept the supplies for himself, and sold it for his own profit.
According to Al Raya, a third defendant was also involved in the scheme, providing the two other men with information and forging the signature of the HMC staffer responsible for signing official documents and receipts.
During the trial, the court heard that the second defendant approved the documents with HMC’s official stamp, even though he knew that the signatures on the paperwork were forged.
Thus, the secretary was convicted of accepting the bribe; performing actions that violate his responsibilities and duties as a government employee; being an accomplice to forging receipts and official documents; and deliberately harming his employer’s (HMC) funds.
HMC was not immediately available for comment.
Al Raya reports that the scheme came to light when the financial manager of the pharmaceutical company, which was not named, noticed that a large sum of money wasn’t paid by HMC in return for the medical supplies delivered.
When he asked the first defendant about it, the man initially tried to evade the question. The financial manager then said he would investigate further by comparing the receipts of the company and HMC.
The first defendant reportedly responded by confessing to taking the medical supplies and selling them for his personal benefit, instead of delivering them to HMC.
He added that he forged receipts and documents with the help of the second defendant.
He also admitted to bribing the secretary of HMC’s storage room with amounts ranging from QR500 ($137) to QR2,000 ($549) per delivery, according to the audit bureau report cited in Al Raya.
The QR23 million worth of medical supplies stolen by the first defendant included QR 22.5 million ($6.2 million) worth of supplies for the cardiac catheterization department alone.
The Audit Bureau also found that more than 200 receipts contained forged signatures.
The dates written on the receipts also represented holidays and weekends, when the designated HMC employee responsible for signing receipts was officially off, proving that they were not authentic.
The two defendants will be deported out of the country, once their sentences are served.