Fake doctor played no role in victim identification

17 April 2019 | Police And Crime

Namibian authorities have given assurances that a convicted Dutch conman, known as 'Dr Bones', who was sentenced to 21 months behind bars for faking his medical degree, did not compromise the identification of the remains of the 33 victims who died in a plane crash in the Zambezi Region in 2013.

“Mr [Peter] Bon was in no way or form involved in any identification of remains, as his role was that of mortuary manager for Kenyon International Emergency Services, protecting the interest of the latter and their employer being Linhas Aréas de Moçambique (LAM),” the head of the National Forensic Science Institute (NFSI), Dr Paul Ludik, told Namibian Sun this week.

Ludik explained that the position of mortuary manager requires a Grade 12 qualification plus relevant vocational training, in Namibia and elsewhere.





As per international victim identification protocols, Ludik said victims were identified through genetic analysis, which was conducted by the NFSI of Namibia alone, and all identification results were validated.

He said Bon's “transgression and subsequent conviction clearly did not influence the identification of the stated remains in any way or form as he played no role, directly or indirectly” during the forensic analysis conducted by the NFSI teams.

Ludik confirmed that Bon had been in Namibia as part of the Kenyon team, which was appointed by LAM to assist local authorities with the forensic work following the airline disaster.

He said the NFSI was made aware of the fraud investigation against Bon after the Netherlands Prosecuting Authority contacted them to assist in the matter, which was done through a statement submitted in February 2017.

Ludik stressed that Bon was introduced to the NFSI as “bona fide employee and team member” of Kenyon.

Ludik explained that Namibian authorities were compelled by international guidelines to supervise and coordinate the disaster victim identification (DVI) process, following the LAM flight 470 crash in Bwabwata National Park on 29 November 2013.

Kenyon was brought on board by LAM, which frequently assists airlines with mass disaster victim identification projects around the globe.

Last week Namibian Sun reported that Bon had been nicknamed 'Dr Bones', and described his professional motto as “I open corpses to close cases!”

A Kenyon newsletter dated 2014 said Bon worked as “both a Supervisor Disaster Victim Identification forensic pathologist and a Senior Incident Director (SID)”.

Apart from Namibia, he was also deployed to the Germanwings crash site in France in 2015.

He was sentenced by a Dutch court in early April to 21 months in jail, of which six months were suspended for five years, after he admitted to his forgeries and fraud.

It emerged during his trial that he was trained as an autopsy assistant and never obtained higher medical qualifications.

Kenyon spokesperson Donald Steel told Namibian Sun last week Bon had “provided support services to Kenyon on a brief freelance basis for two short periods in 2014/15. In these instances, he worked as part of a larger and experienced team.”

Steel said Bon's duties were in a supportive capacity “which did not require a medically licensed person, and were always overseen by government organisations. At no point was he responsible for the formal identification of individuals”.

JANA-MARI SMITH

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