• Senior manager diverted CHC payments to company he was sole director of
  • Made 24 payments over four years
  • Judge ruled Michael Inije of North East London CSU must repay £220,000

A senior finance manager convicted of fraud must repay £220,000 or face another three years in jail, a judge has ruled.

Michael Inije defrauded Newham Clinical Commissioning Group of the sum over a period of four years while employed as deputy financial accounts and governance director by North East London Commissioning Support Unit.

A judge at Snaresbrook Crown Court last week ordered the 58-year-old from Ilford, London, who was jailed last year, to repay the sum within three months.

The CSU provided services for CCGs across the capital and further afield. In May 2017, a colleague noticed an invoice for £19,000 in continuing healthcare payments had been authorised by Mr Inije, who would not normally work in this area, the NHS Counter Fraud Authority said.

An investigation found the money was intended for a company called Davii J Services Limited, of which Mr Inije was a director. In the four years before the investigation started, Mr Inije approved 24 payments to his company.

The band 8d manager pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position in October 2018 and was jailed for three years and nine months.

NELCSU said it and its auditors had reviewed their internal processes and their service auditor report requirements. 

A spokesman said: “We are confident that the necessary rules and procedures required to protect the NHS across England remain robust.”

NHS Counter Fraud Authority head of operations Richard Rippin said in a statement: “Mr Inije’s greed meant hundreds of thousands of pounds for the care of NHS patients was diverted into his pocket.

“NHS England oversaw the original fraud investigation and NHS CFA followed through with its financial investigators to recover the money, a good example of collaboration.”

In mitigation at his sentencing last year, Mr Inije said the money had been to pay for the care of a relative with dementia, although NHS CFA said he had continued to make the payments to himself after the relative had died.

Counter fraud specialist lead for NHS England and NHS Improvement in London Richeall Whelan said: “All fraud in the NHS is unacceptable and should not be tolerated. It affects the ability of the NHS to improve health outcomes for people in England, as resources are wrongfully diverted and cannot be used for their intended purpose.”