Dentist who offered bribe to staff of rival clinic fined $15,000

Wan Ting Koh
(PHOTO: Getty Images)

The chief executive officer of a dental clinic who offered to pay the dental assistant of another clinic to refer its patients to him was fined $15,000 on Tuesday (16 October).

Nurul Aizat Zainudin, a 32-year-old dentist at Family Dental Centre (FDC) was convicted at the State Courts on one count of corruptly giving gratification to Syakirah Atiqah Samsul Bahar, a staff member of T32 Dental. Aizat had been FDC’s director and CEO since 1 April 2011.

Stealing patients

In April last year, Dr Rudy Shahan Hassan, a dentist from T32, accepted Aizat’s offer to join FDC as a clinical director from August the same year.

Rudy had requested that Aizat also consider employing the former’s dental assistants or nurses from T32. One of these dental assistants was Syakirah.

Aizat contacted Syakirah about joining FDC, however the latter declined as she wanted to continue working with T32 at least until she received her year-end bonus.

On 28 May last year, Aizat sent Syakirah a WhatsApp message stating that he would pay her $50 for each of Rudy’s patients at T32 whom she referred to FDC. Aizat asked specifically for patients who needed crown and implant treatment as the procedures were more expensive and would boost FDC’s revenues.

Aizat also asked another dental assistant – who was resigning from T32 to join FDC – to convey the same message to Syakirah. He was aware that at that time, T32 had not processed the transfer of Rudy’s existing clients as per its internal procedures.

Bribe rejected

Based on calculations, FDC could expect to profit close to $50,000 on a half-yearly basis from Rudy’s patients solely on crown and implant procedures. This took into account Rudy’s charges of about $3,500 to $5,000 per patient for crown and implant procedures.

Syakirah rejected the bribe and reported the matter to T32’s management.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Navin Naidu asked for a fine of at least $15,000 for Aizat, pointing out that although the bribe amount was small, the potential profit amounted to tens of thousands. He added that Aizat was in a fairly senior position and had tried to rope in another individual into the scheme.

In mitigation, Aizat, who was unrepresented, said that the patients he targeted were only from Rudy’s client list and not others from T32. He said that his message was “just a suggestion” and that he did not actually meet Syakirah to execute the bribery.

For his offence, Aizat could have been jailed up to five years, fined a maximum $100,000, or both.

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