APPEARING AT St Albans Crown Court, two men have been found guilty of Theft Act, Fraud Act and Bribery Act-related offences against the National Health Service (NHS) following a seven-week trial. A third man had entered a guilty plea prior to the trial commencing.
The investigation was undertaken by the NHS Counter Fraud Authority (NHSCFA), with the prosecution led by the Crown Prosecution Service. The total value of all offences committed stands at more than £600,000.
Hasan Abusheikha, aged 47 and formerly a theatre manager at the St Albans City Hospital NHS Trust, was found guilty of offences under the Theft Act, the Fraud Act and the Bribery Act. He was remanded in custody to be sentenced on Friday 24th March.
Elmo Emanuel, who was CEO of Implants International and Xtremity Solutions Ltd (both of which were companies supplying medical equipment to the hospital) was found guilty of one charge of bribing Abusheikha.
A second NHS Trust supplier, namely Jawid Khan (a director of TSI Med Ltd), had already pleaded guilty to one charge of bribing Abusheikha prior to the trial opening.
Position of responsibility
St Albans Crown Court heard that Abusheikha was in a position of responsibility within the NHS, whereupon he was able to procure medical equipment on behalf of the NHS Trust. As part of his role, he was required to make purchase order requests for items required for surgical procedures carried out within the hospital.
The investigation undertaken by the NHSCFA was able to prove that Abusheikha was in a working relationship with two Trust suppliers in which he accepted bribes to ensure that the Trust procured medical equipment from the companies concerned.
Abusheikha was also convicted of receiving payments from two further suppliers to the NHS Trust. He ordered goods from these companies that he himself had supplied to them. In return, he received at least two-thirds of the value of the goods invoiced.
During the investigation, Abusheikha’s house was searched, and a large number of orthopaedic implantable devices, surgical instruments and medical equipment with a value in excess of £65,000 duly recovered. The investigation was able to prove that these had been stolen from the NHS Trust.
All three will be sentenced at St Albans Crown Court at a later date after which the NHSCFA and the CPS will be leading a process under the Proceeds of Crime Act, aiming to recover any funds fraudulently obtained and deliver them back to the NHS.
Extent of the criminality
Following the verdict, Gemma Quemby (senior fraud investigator at the NHSCFA) stated: “We are pleased that we were able to work with our colleagues from the Crown Prosecution Service to put evidence before the court that showed the full extent of the criminality of those involved.”
Richard Rippin, head of operations at the NHSCFA, added: “The NHSCFA will always work to protect the NHS from those who seek to defraud it and divert moneys intended for patient care into their own bank accounts. We are delighted that we were able to bring this case to court and ensure the appropriate outcome for the NHS.”
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