April 2, 2014 Majuro, RMI — On March 20, Marshall Islands’ Attorney General Jack Jorbon filed 52 criminal charges against the owner and the manager of Genesis Island Enterprises RMI according to an article in the Marshall Islands Journal (MIJ) that was published on March 28. The charges allege that Owner Herminio Alfonso, and Manager Ariane Jay Demayo bribed Majuro hospital officials on multiple occasions in order to win bids for medical equipment, supplies, and maintenance.
The MIJ article said that charges against “implicated Marshall Islands government workers allegedly involved in the scheme will be filed ‘in the coming weeks’”. On April 3 the Attorney General made good on that promise and filed 90 criminal counts against RMI government workers.
Alfonso and Demayo were both charged with 52 criminal counts—13 each of bribery, theft by deception, securing execution of documents by deception, and criminal conspiracy.
Alfonso is also the owner of Genesis Hospital in Pohnpei.
When asked for a statement on the charges, Dr. Merlynn Abello Alfonso responded by email on her husband’s behalf. “We are in a situation where we cannot disclose all the facts right now. Our legal counsel in RMI is dealing with the matter. It is obvious to us that we have been unwittingly victimized in an intricate web of shocking deceit that our names and business (have been) used as a mean(s) to someone’s own ends. Some information is just coming to light on our end to help us understand what hit us. We maintain innocence in all this and intend to see this through.”
Of the two charged men, Demayo was present at the initial hearing on March 21 before Chief Justice Carl Ingram. During the hearing Ingram ordered Demayo to hand over his passport to the Clerk of Courts.
The MIJ article said, “The charges list 13 instances between June 26, 2012 and June 26, 2013 when Genesis staff are said to have paid bribes ranging from $500 to $5,000 to associate hospital administrator Francis Silk in exchange for him ‘using his influence to steer bids toward Genesis by communicating confidential information to Demayo, usually by email, regarding potential MOH (Marshall Islands Office of Health) orders, and Genesis in turn would provide a “padded” price quotation for the needed item,’” the MIJ article quoted from the charging documents. “‘Silk also aided Genesis by using his influence as associate hospital administrator to recommend sole sourcing to Genesis and not provide an adequate number of price quotations from other vendors.’”
The MIJ article continued, “Financial documents from Genesis that are included as evidence with the charges against Alfonso and Demayo include a check register that lists payments to people under the headings, ‘incentives to Dr. Eleuterio Magtangob,’ or ‘Sir Francis incentive,’ or ‘activity for Sir Baines.’ A Genesis "profit and loss" statement for 2013, included as AG's evidence exhibit number two, lists nine individuals receiving over $93,000 as ‘incentives’ in 2013.
“The 52 charges against Alfonso and Demayo allege that Genesis bribes were used to accomplish orders from the hospital for x-ray films and numerous laboratory supplies and equipment,” the article continues. “One of the alleged bribes was for a maintenance contract. But the AG in his court papers stated: ‘although the cont(r)act was paid in full, the CT scan was not properly working.’ “The charges say the Genesis pair ‘deceived other health officials who signed on purchase requisitions’ to believe the documents were ‘legitimate and urgently needed.’”
The preliminary hearing on the charges is scheduled for April 3. If Chief Justice Ingram finds good cause to move to trial, Alfonso and Demayo will be asked to enter pleas of “guilty” or “not guilty at that time.