Aug 28, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – An employee attached to the West Demerara Regional Hospital was yesterday remanded to prison by Magistrate, Zameena Ali-Seepaul, after he was charged for stealing 12 COVID-19 booklets belonging to the Ministry of Health.
Twenty-seven-year-old Avinash Ramaherwar made his first court appearance in the Leonora Magistrate’s Court where he was not required to plead to the charges of simple larceny and forgery.
Last Tuesday, Ramaherwar, a bus driver and two other employees were arrested after they were found with four blank COVID-19 booklets, 17-stamped sick leave forms, a stethoscope, and other items in their possession.
According to initial reports from the police, on the day in question, a female nurse of the hospital was on duty when two of the suspects approached her with their COVID-19 booklets asking for it to be stamped. They further informed her that a third employee was waiting to take them to the Diamond Diagnostic Hospital.
The nurse told police that when she checked the booklets she observed that they were blank. Knowing that the suspects were not supposed to have the books, she immediately brought it to her supervisor’s attention who then reported it to the Vreed-en-Hoop Police Station.
Acting on information received, the police contacted the three employees and placed them into custody. After questioning the workers, police stated that checks were made on the third suspect’s motorcar and they found a gold and black stethoscope, the sick leave forms with the hospital’s stamp, and one unstamped COVID-19 booklet bearing a person’s name and address.
Police ranks also conducted checks at the third suspect’s home in his presence where they discovered one pressure testing kit and a sugar testing kit in his bathroom. When police questioned him about the items, he informed them that he bought them in Georgetown, to which he could not produce the receipts.
Searches were also conducted at the other two suspects’ premises but nothing was found. They were all escorted to the station and placed into custody.
On Wednesday, the police again took the men back to the hospital where searches were conducted on a mini-bus, which one of them usually drives.
Police there found seven more blank COVID-19 booklets between the driver and passenger’s seat. When the three suspects were questioned about the books, they bowed their heads and remained silent.
One of the suspects later admitted to investigators that he would usually uplift the booklets from the Ministry in Georgetown and take it to the hospital. He also admitted that during the process he would have taken out 12 of the booklets.
As investigation continues, a nurse of the hospital was interviewed about her signature, which was found in one of the booklets the suspects had in their possession. The nurse told police that the signature was not hers and so the men were escorted back to the station.
The investigation led to Ramaherwar being the only one detained and he was subsequently charged.
After remanding him to prison, Magistrate Ali-Seepaul adjourned the matter to September 20 for report.
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