Doctor pleads guilty to breach of Corruption Prevention Act

TWO public officials, one of them a senior medical doctor, are facing criminal prosecution brought by the Integrity Commission for breaches of the Corruption Prevention Act.

The officials are Dr Gitanjali Baburam, who was employed to the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), and Patrick James, who was a senior motor vehicle inspector at the Island Traffic Authority.

The matters, which came before the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court yesterday, were led by the commission’s director of corruption prosecution Keisha Prince.

Dr Baburam pleaded guilty to the charges of failure to file statutory declarations without reasonable cause, for the period 2013 to 2017. According to figures quoted by the commission, the medical practitioner’s emoluments for the period totalled close to $31 million. Sentencing is to be handed down on June 7.

“Dr Baburam had failed to comply, as at March 18, 2020, being the time of the completion of investigations into the matter. No reasonable cause has been presented for the failure to comply with these obligations,” the commission said.

Meanwhile, James is being prosecuted for failure to declare in his statutory declarations of assets, liabilities and income ownership of three motor vehicles. His matter is set to be mentioned again on June 7.

The commission alleged that James knowingly made a false statement in his statutory declarations for the period December 2007 to December 2014 that the three vehicles were purchased in 2007 and disposed of in 2011. It said James only divulged this information during the investigation and that his explanations were unsatisfactory.

The Integrity Commission was established by the Integrity Commission Act of 2017 and came into operation in February 2018. Its Corruption Prosecution Division was later operationalised in 2020, following the appointment of an executive team and the recruitment of prosecutors.

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