Ex-CEO of dental centre fined for offering bribe to rival's employee to steal patients from them

Nurul Aizat Zainudin was fined $15,000 after pleading guilty to a corruption charge.
Nurul Aizat Zainudin was fined $15,000 after pleading guilty to a corruption charge.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The chief executive officer of Family Dental Centre (FDC) - a chain of dental clinics - offered to bribe a rival's employee $50 for every patient that she could refer from her clinic to his.

The dental assistant from T32 Dental rejected Nurul Aizat Zainudin's offer and instead, reported the matter to her management.

Nurul Aizat, 32, was fined $15,000 on Tuesday (Oct 16) after pleading guilty to a corruption charge.

The court heard that the saga began in April last year when Dr Rudy Shahan Hassan, who used to work for T32 Dental, accepted Nurul Aizat's offer to join FDC as a clinical director.

During the negotiations, Dr Rudy had asked Nurul Aizat to consider employing some dental assistants and nurses he had worked with at T32 Dental.

Among those he recommended was Ms Syakirah Atiqah Samsul Bahar, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Navin Naidu.

Nurul Aizat contacted Ms Syakirah  and asked her to join FDC. She declined to attend the job interview, saying that she wanted to continue working for T32 Dental at least until the end of last year so that she could collect her bonus.

Ms Syakirah also did not firmly indicate that she would join FDC in the future.

At around 2.10pm on May 28 last year, Nurul Aizat sent Ms Syakirah, a dental assistant, a Whatsapp message in which he offered to pay her $50 for each one of Dr Rudy's patient at T32 Dental that she could refer to FDC.

DPP Naidu added: "The accused specified to Syakirah that he wanted her to refer patients from T32 who required crown and implant treatment.

"The accused did so as these treatments were relatively more expensive and would translate to better revenues for FDC."

The DPP told District Judge Kessler Soh that Dr Rudy's charges at that time for each patient's crown and implant procedures were about $3,500 to $5,000.

Based solely on such procedures on these patients, FDC could have expected to make a profit of around $50,000 on a half-yearly basis.

The court heard that Ms Syakirah rejected the bribe offer proposed by Nurul Aizat and alerted T32 Dental's management to it.

FDC said on Tuesday that Nurul Aizat’s services as CEO and dental surgeon were terminated on Sept 24 last year. He also ceased to be a director with effect from Sept 22 last year.

FDC added that it has reminded all dental professionals and staff of its “zero tolerance on any legal or ethical infringements and had cooperated fully with investigations”.

In a statement, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) said: "The CPIB would like to commend Syakirah for her act of integrity and honesty. In relation to Aizat's professional misconduct, the Singapore Dental Council will be looking into the matter."

For offering the bribe, he could have been jailed for up to five years and fined up to $100,000.