Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) says it arrested a senior medical doctor for soliciting a bribe from a patient, which he described as a ‘new year token’, in order to treat him.
Dr. Marie Alphonse Sibomana, a senior urologist, who until his arrest was working with a public hospital and several renowned private clinics based in Kigali, allegedly sought a bribe of Rwf 1 million, wherein he was arrested after receiving Rfw 50, 000 from a patient before he could treat him.
RIB arrested Dr. Sibomana on January 7 on suspicion of bribery and is likely to face charges of corruption and abuse of power given to him by the law for his own benefit. The case has been submitted to the Prosecution today Wednesday.
According to the Spokesperson of RIB, Dr. Thierry B. Murangira, the medic misled the patient that the public hospital he had been referred to did not have a theatre and instead ordered him to go to a private hospital where he (Dr. Sibomana) practiced on a part-time basis and pay Rwf1m for the surgery (which is besides the normal cost of surgery).
“The patient had come from a provincial hospital from where he had been given transfer to a public hospital in Kigali, because the hospital did not had the capacity/ expertise to threat the patient,”
“Rather than helping the patient, the medical doctor asked him to pay him Rwf50,000 as a ‘new year token of appreciation’. The patient did as he was instructed on 02/01/2022. The doctor had promised to treat him on 05/01/2022 in a private hospital,” Dr. Murangira said.
RIB, acting on a tip off, arrested the 49-year-old medic and he is currently being held at Rwezamenyo RIB Station in Nyarugenge district. His file was sent to Prosecution on Wednesday, January 12.
Dr. Sibomana will face two charges of bribery and abuse of power, which are punishable under Law N ° 54/2018 of 13/08/2018 fighting against corruption.
Article 4 of law n° 54/2018 of 13/08/2018 on fighting against corruption states; any person who solicits, accepts or receives, by any means, an illegal benefit for himself/ herself or another person or accepts a promise in order to render or omit a service under his or her mandate or uses his or her position to render or omit a service, commits an offence.
Upon conviction, he/she is liable to imprisonment for a term of more than five years but not more than seven years with a fine of three to five times the value of the illegal benefit offered, solicited or received.
When the second charge of abuse of power involves financial gain, anyone found guilty is liable for imprisonment of not less than 7 years but not more than 10 years and a fine of three to five times the value of the illegal benefit offered, solicited or received.
RIB warns against Professional misconduct
RIB says it will not tolerate individuals who use their professional expertise or positions to engage in criminal acts which are punishable by the law.
“In this case, apart from these being criminal acts, soliciting a bribe from a patient goes against the medical ethics that govern medical professionals in Rwanda,”
“Ordering a patient to pay you an exorbitant amount outside the cost of treatment and on top of that misleading the patient about the status and capacity of the public hospital in order to treat them in a private clinic, is unacceptable,” the RIB Spokesperson said.
RIB said that this was an unusual case of bribery and called on the general public to be alert because nowadays corruption is manifesting itself in more sophisticated ways than ever.
KT Press understands the public hospital has already relieve the medic of his duties and a new doctor was assigned to handle the case. The patient was expected to undergo treatment on Wednesday, January 12.