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Friday, October 15, 2021

Qatar court convicts HMC staffer & two others on bribery, forgery charges

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Lower criminal court in Doha
Lower criminal court in Doha

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).

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

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.

Confession

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.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

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.

Thoughts?

19 COMMENTS

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terracotta
terracotta
6 years ago

good going.

Alison
Alison
6 years ago

I never usually comment but as the mother of Lauren Patterson who was murdered in Qatar in October 2013. Please can someone explain to me how can bribery and forging receipts warrant a 10 year sentence but the Qatari man who was the accomplice to burning my daughter’s body only get a 3 sentence. This to me is so unfair.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago
Reply to  Alison

Don’t expect justice in Qatar. I’m sorry for your loss.

Alison
Alison
6 years ago

Thank you for commenting. Unfortunately I agree with you. Over the past year and a half I had respected the decisions of the court as I believe that one must respect the justice system of the country concerned. On many occasions expats have had far greater sentences handed down for far less crimes it makes me feel as though I have been very naive to trust the decisions made.
Thank you again for your comment Alison

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Alison

Sorry for your loss it must be hard to bear. The justice system is at breaking point here and they don’t help themselves. The convicted criminals in the villagio case got six years in jail and that was for the unlawful killing of 19 people. 16 of which were children. Again less than what these expats got for bribery, even worse two of the Qatari’s convicted are living in Belgium and the man is the ambassador for Qatar. His family name is Al Thani so no more explanation is needed. They talk a good game but it doesn’t bear out in the court decisions.

Alison
Alison
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Thank you for your comment.
I remember my daughter Lauren calling me when she heard of the fire at the villagio mall and I have followed the case closely. Although this seems to be classed as a corporate case nothing will ever take away the pain and suffering that the families have endured.
I hope that as time goes forward justice will mean justice no matter what nationality you are.

Fee
Fee
6 years ago
Reply to  Alison

Because the accused and found guilty in your case was a Qatari… The ones for bribery are expats! There is no justice!

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  Alison

Very Sorry for your loss Alison. Unfortunately in Qatar ‘Justice’ and ‘Fair’ are words not deeds legally or morally. One only has to look at the human rights abuses, the lack of consequences for actions and the racism that exits on a sliding scale from Qatari to Bangladeshi. Secondly this case is about money, the most important item to be worshipped in Qatar, it has wiped most of any morality and humanity within Qatar, hence the greater sentence then murder, as it is reflective of the society the system represents. Qatar is a society which has no soul or care, no sense of togetherness or society, it is fragmented between Qataris, Westerners and servants/labourers with only minimal glimpses of care or concern from one group to another (although my experience was that the servants/labourers were the most morally intact). You are so right it is unfair 3 years for an accomplice or accessory to murder who mutilated your daughters body compared to ten years for fraud, but in Qatar fair is not a concern.

Michael L
Michael L
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

5 years ago I would have called you a cynic … Unfortunately for all who live in Qatar, citizens and expatriates alike, you are spot on. I have no idea as to the solution.

Michael L
Michael L
6 years ago

Could Doha News please explain what happened to the third defendant and also specify his or her nationality as has been done with the first and second defendants. Otherwise people might start speculating as to the nationality of the third defendant and why they don’t appear to have been punished for forgery. Journalistic accuracy please.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael L

I wonder if the nationality of the 3rd defendant is related to Alison’s comment above. I’d be surprised if it isn’t.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

We got the story from Al Raya so we don’t know the nationality of the third defendant. The newspaper actually described this person as “anonymous.” We are trying to get the court docs to find out more.

Michael L
Michael L
6 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

Interesting to relate this story to the punishment very recently speedily meted out to a UAE national in Abu Dhabi by the UAE government for acts of terrorism. Same geographic area, largely same culture and customs but very different view of justice apparently. I wonder how this could be explained ?

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

Thanks Shabina.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

Of the 3 convicted only 2 will be deported. I think we can easily guess the nationality of the third one. Unfortunately Qatar is still miles away from a reliable and functional justice system

A
A
6 years ago

When ever after reading wholestory the word “THOUGHTS ” i start laughing. Due to so called innocence of DN reporter that how easily HE or SHE discriminate ppl by their nationality. And saying DN is an neutral news breaker. sorry If you mind

Jen
Jen
6 years ago
Reply to  A

I don,t understand what you mean-how does writing’thoughts’ for the comment section discriminate people?

Mic
Mic
6 years ago

Do all this things don’t have inventory ??? And as far as I know there’s always a purchase order and the receiver will check everything and submitted to someone’s in charge for the confirmation of delivery. That procedure is SOP in all hospital. So many lapses this hospital. Revised your rules and procedures.

Edward
Edward
6 years ago

So, basically, HMC was not harmed in this case? The sales rep essentially stole things from his employer, and got clerks at HMC to say they were delivered there? (Not a very smart scheme, as eventually it would be discovered the HMC did not order or pay for any of this.)

I agree with Alison — the secretary at HMC should be fired, and punished, but a QAR 877K fine plus seven years in prison sounds a bit extreme for accepting a mere QAR 8,700 and not hurting his employer. And what happens when he can’t pay the 877K fine? Does he rot in jail (or on the streets as a freed prisoner but with a travel ban) for life?

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