Doctor sentenced for fraud found guilty of misconduct

Fri, Sep 21, 2012, 01:00

A DOCTOR who brought an old, broken laptop to a shop, claiming it to have been recently purchased, and fraudulently obtaining a refund for it, has been found guilty of professional misconduct.

Dr Alabi Emmanuel Gbadebo was before a Medical Council fitness-to-practise inquiry yesterday.

He was also found to have concealed his pending trial for the fraud from the HSE in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, and to have failed to notify the HSE after the trial that he had been convicted.

The inquiry heard Dr Gbadebo, who is originally from Nigeria and trained and worked in Belarus, has been in Ireland since 2003. He passed Irish medical examinations and general medical council equivalents. Though he had some observer posts, he had not found paid work when he was living in Cork in 2008. He was finishing a thesis for a master’s degree, was under financial pressure and anxious to get work.

He said he had been having difficulty with his laptop. “I had to submit the thesis. The best thing was to change the laptop.”

He bought a new laptop in a Cork city centre branch of Argos for €599.99 in late August 2008. On August 29th, he brought his old laptop in the new laptop’s packaging, with the receipt for the new laptop, to the Argos branch and got a refund for it.

“I was thinking I had to get the thesis done. I was frustrated. I was five years in the country and no work,” he said. He has a wife and three children.

He obtained a distinction in his master’s and obtained work in Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar in 2009.

Garda Michelle Quinn, Watercourse Road, Cork, said she had viewed CCTV footage of Dr Gbadebo fraudulently obtaining the refund. She sent a report to the Garda in Castlebar in February 2010 and the case came before Cork District Court on July 23rd, 2010.

Dr Gbadebo pleaded guilty on September 28th, 2010, and was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for two years.

In the meantime Dr Gbadebo had been contracted to work in Letterkenny General Hospital.

Patrick Murray, hospital HR manager, said he gave the doctor a number of declaration forms on August 20th, 2010, advising they should be signed in the presence of a solicitor. Among the declarations he signed was that he faced no Garda investigation or trial.

“On October 5th I got a call from the local Garda station. I was told Dr Alabi [Gbadebo] was convicted of an offence in Cork at the end of September,” said Mr Murray. He called Dr Gbadebo to a meeting on October 12th. “He admitted it and apologised profusely and sought leniency.”

His contract was ended due to the “significant breach of trust”.

The committee found three allegations were “proven as to fact” and each amounted to professional misconduct.