On October 16, Tuesday, Nurul Aizat Zainudin, 32, the chief executive officer, director and practicing dentist at the Family Dental Centre (FDC) was fined S$15,000 for bribery and was promptly terminated by the FDC.
Furthermore, Singapore Dental Council is investigating Dr. Aizat for professional misconduct.
On May 28, 2017, Dr. Aizat talked to Ms. Syakirah Atiqah Samsul Bahar, who was working at another clinic, T32, as a dental assistant. He offered her S$50 for each patient that Ms. Bahar successfully referred to FDC.
A dentist from T32, Dr Rudy Shahan Hassan, who was joining Dr. Aizat at FDC as clinical director, suggested that perhaps Dr. Aizat could also offer jobs to nurses or dental assistants from T32, including Ms. Bahar.
When asked, Ms. Bahar turned down the offer, wanting to stay on at T32 at least until she received her yer-end bonus.
In his WhatsApp message to Ms. Bahar wherein he offered to pay for patient referrals, Dr. Aizat particularly asked for referrals for patients needing implant and crown treatments. These pricier procedures would bring in more money to FDC, since patients are charged between $3,500 to $5,000 for these treatments.
Another dental assistant who was resigning from T32 and joining FDC was asked by Dr. Aizat to give the same message to Ms. Bahar. During this time, Dr. Aizat knew that T32 had not transferred Dr. Hassan’s patient records to FDC, as was the company’s protocol.
Ms. Bahar turned down the bribe, and what’s more, reported the incident to the management of T32, and a complaint was lodged at the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).
The CPIB looked into the matter and took action against Dr. Aizat. The bureau also commended Ms. Bahar for reporting Dr. Aizat’s corrupt and illegal actions.
In a statement, the bureau wrote “The CPIB would like to commend Syakirah for her act of integrity and honesty.
Singapore adopts a zero tolerance approach towards corruption. The CPIB takes a serious view of any corrupt practices and will not hesitate to take action against any party involved in such acts.”
Navin Naidu, the Deputy Public Prosecutor in the case, had asked for a fine of at least $15,000 for Dr. Aizat, since he stood to earn thousands of dollars from the scheme from the expensive procedures. He also pointed out that as a person in authority, the doctor tried to involve another individual in the corrupt scheme. For charges of corruption, Dr. Aizat could have received a fine as high as $100,000, or spent 5 years in jail.
Dr. Aizat, who chose to represent himself, said that he had never met with Ms. Bahar in order to bribe her, and that the message he sent via What’sApp was a mere suggestion. He also said that he was only focusing on Dr. Hassan’s particular patients, not the other patients of T32.