Facebook image of Dr Tony Bakare
Facebook image of Dr Tony Bakare

Doctor’s alleged $400k Medicare scam

A PROMINENT Queensland doctor has been accused of rorting Medicare of more than $370,000 by falsely claiming he'd treated thousands of patients, including some who were dead.

Tony Mufutau Oluwatoyin Bakare, 49, has been charged with making more than 4000 false claims to Medicare on dates that investigators claim the GP was out of the country.

The thousands of allegedly false claims, including 22 which relate to the treatment patients who were dead, were made between April 2014 and August 2017.

Bakare, a prominent doctor who has more than 18,000 Twitter followers including former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, describes himself online as a medical doctor, faith researcher, producer, singer, songwriter, visionary, pioneer and worshipper who is "seeking a loving, peaceful and better world for all humankind".

Bakare's lawyer Basil Karsas told The Courier-Mail the doctor would be defending the charges.

According to court documents, Bakare was the sole director a number of Queensland GP clinics when the allegedly false claims were submitted, including the Holy Cross Medical Centre at the Gold Coast, Tony's Medical Centre at Underwood and the Studio Village Oxenford Medical Centre.

Dr Tony Mufutau Oluwatoyin Bakare (Facebook image)
Dr Tony Mufutau Oluwatoyin Bakare (Facebook image)

"Investigation into Dr Bakare's billing practices commenced in March 2016 after the Department of Health received numerous tip offs from members of the public," an affidavit filed by a Queensland Health investigator says.

"This investigation was in relation to allegations of inappropriate billing to Medicare and encompassed provider numbers allocated to Dr Bakare at three different practices."

"There was a practice operating and legitimate claims were being submitted from these provider numbers. However there were also false claims submitted under these provider numbers."

It's alleged Bakare, a Nigerian-born doctor who became an Australian citizen in 2006, submitted 4065 Medicare claims for services he purportedly provided "when he was in fact not in Australia".

Court documents allege Bakare travelled overseas 23 times between April 2014 and June 2017 and claimed $371,000 from Medicare during those times

He also allegedly made 22 claims worth more than $1100 for patients who were dead at the date of service.

Authorities executed a search warrant at Bakare's Studio Village Medical Centre in Oxenford on August 23, 2017 and according to court documents, the doctor left Australia days later and worked for a time at two GP clinics in Canada.

The doctor, who now lives at Point Cook in Victoria, was arrested on January 10 this year, and given bail on the conditions he surrender his passport and not attempt to leave the country.

He was charged with dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage from the Commonwealth and the case will be mentioned again in Brisbane Magistrates Court on March 29.

Bakare is still listed as 'registered' on the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency website.

A spokesman for the Office of the Health Ombudsman said it did not comment on specific cases.