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Overseas pharmacist refused registration after benefits fraud

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The Pharmaceutical Journal Vol 264 No 7102p947
June 24, 2000 The Society

Statutory committee

Overseas pharmacist refused registration after benefits fraud

The Statutory Committee has refused to allow an overseas pharmacist to be registered after hearing that she had claimed more than £3,000 income support to which she had not been entitled.
At its meeting on January 19, the committee inquired into the case of Ms Valerie Onoriode Esievo, an overseas pharmacist who had applied to be registered with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. Ms Esievo had come to the United Kingdom in 1995 as an asylum seeker from Nigeria. She had passed the overseas pharmacists examinations, completed a 12-month period of approved employment and passed the Society's registration examination.
Ms Esievo was present at the inquiry and was represented by Mr R. Kio, of Awoloye Kio & Co (solicitors).
Mr G. F. R. Hudson, of Walker Martineau (solicitors), appeared to present the facts of the case to the committee.
The committee heard that when Ms Esievo had made an application to the Department of Social Security for continued income support, using the name Val Onoriode, she had stated that she did no paid work at a time when she was actually undergoing paid preregistration employment. When interviewed by the Benefits Agency, she had consistently maintained she was not working.
When asked by the Society to explain the apparent discrepancy between her statements to the DSS and her employment as a preregistration trainee she had replied that she had been wrongly advised and should have claimed family credit instead of income support.
Later, in an interview with the Society's Registrar and the director of professional standards, Ms Esievo had admitted signing a statement that she did no paid work knowing that it was not true.
Giving the committee's decision, the chairman (Mr Gary Flather, QC) said that Ms Esievo had repeatedly denied being in paid employment, or being a preregistration trainee at a pharmacy. When faced with evidence of such employment she had prevaricated and said she was earning less than was the case.
Integrity, trust and a truthful attitude were essential in the professional make-up of a pharmacist, said the chairman. Any would-be pharmacist who had a propensity to tell lies and who made false statements in their claims for money did not appear to the committee as somebody fit to join the profession.
The committee accepted that Ms Esievo had come to the UK in difficult circumstances, and that she had obtained training which would be wasted if she were not to be registered. But Ms Esievo's conduct had been such as to render herself unfit to have her name on the register and the committee directed that her name should not be registered.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 20002006

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