A hospital trust’s director of IT and a contractor he received kickbacks from have been jailed.
Peter Lewis was associate director of informatics at the Royal Surrey County Hospital Foundation Trust from 2009 to 2012 when he solicited and received payments of £74,000 from IT contractor Richard Moxon. Moxon also paid £7,200 to a stables Lewis owed money to.
This was in exchange for awarding him a contract worth £950,000.
Mr Lewis was jailed for three years and six months on Friday, while Mr Moxon received a 14 month sentence.
Mr Moxon had admitted a charge of giving corrupt payments under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.
Mr Lewis had originally denied a charge under the same legislation but changed his plea to guilty shortly before his trial last year.
In a statement issued in November Surrey Police said: ”Each month Moxon would submit multiple invoices from different companies he controlled. The invoices were all at, or just below, £15,000, the value that Lewis was able to sign off without oversight.”
Surrey Police said the fraud came to light when the trust investigated Mr Lewis’ dealings with another contractor.
The police statement said: “Subsequent work found that 40 per cent of the IT product supplied by Moxon did not meet the needs of the trust. They were able to recover some of the lost money by incorporating Moxon’s software into a new system in August 2012, but the trust still declared losses in its financial year of 2011-12 of £433,000 in respect of the project. The direct fraud against the hospital was nearly £81,000.”
The trust’s annual accounts for 2007-08 and 2008-09 show that in this period, prior to Mr Lewis’s appointment, it received services to the value of more than £210,000 from a company at which he was a director.
The accounts show that Sue Lewis, his wife and then director of nursing and operations and deputy chief executive, was a 50 per cent shareholder in the company. This interest was declared at the time, and these payments are not related to the charge he pleaded guilty to.
Mr Lewis’ company, PeterPostPartners Limited, is now dissolved but is listed with Companies House as providing “animal husbandry services”, “other computer related activities” and “business and management consultancy”.
The Royal Surrey’s accounts show these services related to the “trust’s foundation trust application (£102.3k), electronic staff records project (£16.4k), e-prescribing project (£7.5k) and acting interim head of IT (£15.7k).”
Mrs Lewis resigned in February 2012 after Lewis’ dismissal in December 2011.
On her departure, a statement released by the trust’s then chair Peter Dunt said Mrs Lewis had “made a significant contribution” to the trust over 17 years.