HIV registry leak: Very troubling signs that the rot has set in, much deeper than we thought

An American fraudster teams up with a rogue Singaporean doctor and together they wreaked havoc. They hookwinked and defrauded the Manpower Ministry, Health Ministry and Education Ministry and put thousands of Singaporeans in jeopardy.

If ever we need confirmation that the rot has set in, this is it.

It was with apparent ease that HIV-positive Mikhy Farrera-Brochez was able to secure an employment pass from the Manpower Ministry, in conspiracy with Ler Teck Siang, then head of the Health Ministry’s National Public Health Unit.

The American then duped the Education Ministry for the longest time, securing employment as a child psychologist at Temasek Polytechnic. He forged educational certificates and faked claims that he was a child prodigy and the son of a renowned psychologist. This went on undetected for nearly a decade.

Brochez was finally caught, sentenced to jail and deported. But that’s not the end of the story. It was only this week that we are told that confidential information of 14,200 people with HIV had been stolen and leaked online – and the culprit is Brochez.

It has taken the Health Ministry more than two years to go public with the data theft and to notify affected individuals.

Just as the Hepatitis C outbreak at Singapore General Hospital was initially kept under wraps from the public and revealed only after the General Election 2015.

Also fresh in our minds is the $40 million scam of SkillsFuture Singapore, again with such apparent ease.

And even fresher is the SingHealth cyber attack which the Committee of Inquiry has attributed to lapses by employees and vulnerabilities with the system.

These are not isolated incidents. They point to systemic failures. When will they run out of excuses? When will they realise that “sorry” is not good enough? When will there be true accountability?

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