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Health ministry probing sexual misconduct claims

Tuesday, December 18, 2012    

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THE health ministry is walking on eggshells in the probe surrounding allegations of sexual misconduct by one of its top officials.

The allegations, which came to public notice last week, had apparently been brought to the attention of the ministry from as early as August this year through an anonymous letter.

But according to the ministry in a statement yesterday — which steered clear of mentioning that the allegations were of a sexual nature — action had not been taken because the persons who were allegedly affected had not come forward.

The ministry said that the investigation, which was initiated on October 18, 2012, soon after the letter was brought to the attention of Permanent Secretary Dr Jean Dixon, "is being delayed due to the fact that no person mentioned in the letter has filed any official complaint".

"As a result of information obtained through an anonymous letter dated August 20, 2012 introduced via e-mail and which was circulated within the ministry, Dr Jean Dixon (permanent secretary) in consultation with Dr Fenton Ferguson (health minister), wrote to the persons who were named asking them to assist with the investigation," the ministry said in a statement yesterday.

It said the permanent secretary has since received confirmation of the receipt of two of the letters, and confirmation of delivery of an additional three.

In the meantime, the ministry is appealing to persons who can assist with the investigations to contact the investigator through a number provided "to participate in the interview process", stating that it wants to maintain a hands-off approach to the matter.

It said "due to the fact that the allegations involve senior officials of the ministry, due care is being taken so as not to prejudice the outcome of the investigation. The ministry will therefore not be directly involved in any investigation of the allegations".

According to the ministry, however, "the matter is being fully pursued".

Yesterday, a well-placed source told the Jamaica Observer that the individual at the centre of the allegations has not been sent on leave because that person is being protected.

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