A former hospital trust director has admitted corruptly awarding an IT contract while in the role.
Peter Lewis, former associate director of the Royal Surrey County Hospital Foundation Trust, on Monday pleaded guilty to a charge under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906. He is due to be sentenced at Guildford Crown Court on 6 January.
On Monday, Mr Lewis admitted to receiving payments from Richard Moxon in 2011, in return for awarding him an IT contract worth £950,000 in its first year.
Mr Moxon, from Nantwich in Cheshire, had pleaded guilty to giving payments, an offence under the same act, in March this year.
In a statement 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.
“In return for the arrangement, Moxon paid Lewis nine payments totalling £73,770, and made a further payment of £7,200 to a stables to whom Lewis owed money. All the payments were made between January and December 2011.”
The trust dismissed Mr Lewis, who joined it in December 2009, in January 2012, after conducting a disciplinary hearing and referred the case to the police. 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.”
Mr Lewis had originally pleaded not guilty in December 2015 but changed his plea on Monday.
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 has 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).”
Court and police statements
21 November 2016