Marshalls’ Attorney General tackles fraud

Three charged in alleged Majuro Hospital scam

Three people have now been charged with a combined 142 criminal charges in the Marshall Islands High Court, charges that allege a pharmacy company bribed Ministry of Health officials to secure hundreds of thousands of dollars in hospital contracts. The latest round of criminal charges to hit the High Court follows a round of successful prosecutions in 2011 and 2012 that ended in convictions of several Ministry of Health and Finance workers who conspired with private sector companies to bilk hundreds of thousands of dollars from the hospital through a fake invoice scheme.

Despite hospital audits showing repeated violations of tender laws year after year in the 2000s and 2010s, and complaints by vendors as early as 2011, little was done to address contract fraud until the end of last year, when a former employee of Genesis Island Enterprises RMI passed evidence — emails, financial reports and other paperwork — to government law enforcement offices showing that “incentives” were repeatedly paid to hospital workers in the 2012-2013 to secure medical supply, equipment and maintenance contracts at Majuro Hospital. At the end of March, Marshall Islands chief prosecutor and Acting Attorney General Jack Jorbon filed 52 criminal charges against the owner and manager of Genesis alleging they bribed Majuro Hospital officials on 13 occasions to win contracts. Genesis owner Herminio Alfonso, who is based in Pohnpei, and Manager Ariane Jay Demayo were both charged with 52 criminal counts — 13 each of bribery, theft by deception, securing execution of documents by deception, and criminal conspiracy.

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