Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Doctor gets more serious charge of lying to MOH that woman was vaccinated against Covid-19

SINGAPORE — General practitioner Jipson Quah was handed a more serious charge on Tuesday (Jan 25) over allegations that he submitted false Covid-19 vaccination records.

General practitioner Jipson Quah (pictured) faced a more serious charge over submitting false Covid-19 vaccination records.
General practitioner Jipson Quah (pictured) faced a more serious charge over submitting false Covid-19 vaccination records.
Follow us on Instagram and Tiktok, and join our Telegram channel for the latest updates.
  • Jipson Quah’s cheating charge was amended to a more severe one of fraud by false representation
  • The doctor is accused of falsely indicating to the Ministry of Health that a woman had been vaccinated with Sinopharm
  • Quah’s lawyers asked for him to be released on bail, while the prosecution asked for a further remand period to complete investigations
  • A judge ruled that Quah should be remanded for another week

SINGAPORE — General practitioner Jipson Quah was handed a more serious charge on Tuesday (Jan 25) over allegations that he submitted false Covid-19 vaccination records.

Quah was originally charged with conspiring with his assistant, Thomas Chua Cheng Soon, and a woman named Mehrajunnisha to cheat the Ministry of Health (MOH).

However, the prosecution amended his charge to one of fraud by false representation under Section 424A of the Penal Code. This carries a maximum jail term of 20 years, while those convicted of cheating can be jailed for up to three years.

District Judge Terence Tay, who rejected Quah's lawyers’ request for him to be released on bail, ordered that he be remanded for another week for further investigations. He has been on remand since he was first charged last Friday.

Quah, 33, appeared in court through a video link dressed in a white polo tee.

He is now accused of falsely representing to MOH on Jan 14 that Mehrajunnisha was vaccinated against Covid-19 with Sinopharm when she was not, in order for her to obtain a certificate of vaccination against the coronavirus.

The outcome of the offending conduct is that there may be persons walking around with vaccinated statuses but have not received vaccinations.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Samuel Yap

Iris Koh, the founder of a controversial anti-vaccine group Healing the Divide, was also charged last week with conspiring with Quah between July last year and January this year to trick MOH into believing that people were vaccinated with Sinopharm when they had not been.

Koh had allegedly referred clients, believed to be members of Healing the Divide, to Quah and had also suggested administering something else in lieu of the vaccine to patients.

Quah does not face any charges of conspiring with Koh, but Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Samuel Yap said on Tuesday that preliminary investigations suggested that other patients were involved.

DPP Yap asked for Quah to be remanded in Central Police Division for one more week for further investigations.

He told the court that the case involved “quite a number of elements”, including access to medical records from Quah’s clinic, and there was “some urgency” and public interest to ensure investigations were carried out quickly.

“The outcome of the offending conduct is that there may be persons walking around with vaccinated statuses but have not received vaccinations. These people will be allowed to enjoy vaccination-differentiated measures and pose a risk to Singaporeans at this time,” the prosecutor said.

He also highlighted that Quah’s charge is now a non-bailable one, whereas those charged with his original cheating offence can be offered bail.

When District Judge Tay asked if there would be “other offences disclosed” during investigations, DPP Yap said that the prosecution is not sure at the moment.

AMENDED CHARGE IS ‘UNUSUAL’

In response, Quah’s defence counsel from law firm Withers KhattarWong noted that the defence received information from the Attorney-General’s Chambers only on Monday about Quah’s charge being amended.

Mr Shashi Nathan said that in past serious cases, the bail amounts have been increased to significantly high amounts with conditions such as electronic tagging and daily reporting to the police.

Mr Nathan also argued that to his understanding, the police had already gone to Quah’s clinic last week and seized his records, which meant that there was no issue of information being disseminated or records being destroyed.

“My rudimentary understanding is there are other persons involved; other persons who have issues with anti-vaccination… But there is no reason for him to be kept in remand for a lengthy time,” the lawyer added.

Mr Nathan asked for Quah to be released on bail with conditions such as e-tagging, and even daily reporting, if necessary. This would give him his liberty while allowing the police to continue their probe “as quickly and efficiently as possible”.

The lawyer added that the charge was “unusual” and “not commonly seen in the courts here”.

“Obviously at some point, I will take full instructions from my client and we will make representations on the nature and appropriateness of the charge,” Mr Nathan said.

Quah had been referred to the Institute of Mental Health on Monday but was released soon after, the lawyer added.

District Judge Tay eventually ruled that considering the rise of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and the regulations requiring vaccination checks, as well as the various public interests and the nature of Quah’s alleged offence, there remains a “risk of serious and more widespread health consequences… if this is not addressed quickly”.

He adjourned the case to Jan 31 and told the prosecution to apply for an earlier hearing if investigations wrap up faster than expected.

CLINICS SUSPENDED

Last Sunday, MOH said that it will be issuing notices of suspension to the four clinics either licensed under Quah’s name or managed by him, or both.

They are: Wan Medical Clinic in Bedok North, Mayfair Medical Clinic in Woodlands, Mayfair Medical Clinic (Yishun Chong Pang), and Ong Clinic & Surgery (Yishun).

The clinics’ antigen rapid test approvals will also be revoked and the ministry will be referring Quah to the Singapore Medical Council for further investigations.

MOH began investigating Wan Medical Clinic after receiving anonymous feedback last month that it was partnering Koh to offer "remote" pre-event testing using antigen rapid tests for members of Healing the Divide.

It was found to have allegedly allowed people to submit to the clinic pre-recorded videos or photos, or both, purporting to show that they had performed the rapid test on themselves. The clinic then uploaded the negative test results for them, MOH said.

Quah was also found to have purportedly submitted a false positive antigen rapid test result to the Patient Risk Profile Portal, so that an unvaccinated patient could obtain a recovered status and be exempted from vaccine-related infection controls and regulations.

MOH did not state who this patient was.

Separately, Quah has also been placed on leave by Thermo Fisher Scientific, the pharmaceutical company said on Tuesday.

Quah is a director at PPD Global Central Lab, which is owned by Thermo Fisher Scientific.

“The allegations do not involve Dr Quah’s role as a director of global central laboratories within Thermo Fisher’s clinical research business, however Dr Quah has been placed on leave while we review the allegations,” the pharmaceutical company said in a statement on the matter.

Related topics

court fraud Covid-19 Jipson Quah bail Healing The Divide vaccination coronavirus vaccine

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.