Nurse who used company card for petrol guilty of professional misconduct

A nurse manager who used a company credit card to buy more than $500 worth of petrol for his own car has been censured for his dishonesty.

Bibin Yohannan Baby has been found guilty of professional misconduct while working as a service manager at Emerge Aotearoa, a national charitable trust that provided a range of health and social services.

Baby used his assigned business credit card to buy fuel for his own vehicle eight times over nine months, according to a Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal decision released today.

The purchases worth a total of $558 were discovered after a review by management.

Baby was also found to have made false entries in the logbook and provided false statements to his employer when questioned about the card use.

The conduct amounted to a “clear breach of trust expected of a registered nurse employed in the capacity of a service manager”, the tribunal said.

Baby initially denied what had happened and fabricated excuses, and then later admitted the dishonesty at a hearing last October, at which point he resigned.

He also admitted at that meeting he was dishonest when he uploaded his purchase history into the financial system to show he was purchasing petrol for the fleet vehicle and that this was deceitful.

Baby was a registered nurse who gained a Bachelor of Science Nursing degree in February 2009 from the Vinayaka Mission’s College of Nursing in India.

He was registered to practice in New Zealand in August 2012 within the scope of general and obstetric nursing only.

He began working as a service manager for Emerge in Wellington in October 2018 when he was given a business credit card. Each vehicle in the work fleet had its own fuel card.

In September 2019 Emerge’s district manager checked the use of credit cards and found Baby had spent $80 of Emerge funds that month by purchasing fuel with his business credit card at a fuel station about 23km from the office.

When Baby was asked a few days later to explain his action, he said he had used the credit card because the fuel card in the car was “broken”.

Fleet management confirmed a replacement card had been ordered months earlier and had been in use since August.

Further enquiries by management found a number of discrepancies between the ledger for Baby’s assigned business credit card, and the vehicle logbook.

It was established from this that from November 2018 to October 2019, Baby misappropriated Emerge funds for his own use.

At a meeting in October 2019 Baby admitted his actions and that he had been dishonest.

He resigned the same day, forfeiting $5200 in wages and the required four-week written notice period. The matter was not referred to police.

Baby does not hold a current annual practising certificate and at the time of the hearing was overseas.

The tribunal had a range of penalty options available, including cancellation of his registration, suspension of registration for up to three years, imposing conditions on his practising certificate or censuring him.

The tribunal said that while the total sum taken was relatively small, the dishonesty spanned a number of events over a period of time.

While it accepted there were some mitigating factors, aggravating features included that Baby’s dishonesty continued with his initial denial and the fabrication of excuses.

Along with his censure, the tribunal imposed conditions if Baby returned to work in New Zealand, including that within 12 months he was to complete at his own cost a course on nursing ethics, including ethical obligations to employers and patients, as approved by the Nursing Council.

He was also ordered to tell any prospective employer of the disciplinary proceeding and show them a copy of the tribunal’s decision, for two years after starting work back in New Zealand.

Baby was also ordered to pay $3200 in costs.


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