• Trust chair failed to tell colleagues and NHS Improvement he had been made bankrupt
  • Museji Takolia left Wye Valley nearly three months after bankruptcy declared
  • Departure not announced by trust or NHS Improvement
  • Mr Takolia on “special leave” from role as chair of the Pensions Advisory Service

An acute trust chair who was declared bankrupt earlier this year failed to tell the organisation and stayed in post for nearly three months before stepping down, HSJ has learned.

Museji Takolia, the former chair of Wye Valley Trust, resigned on 14 October – 11 weeks after he was declared bankrupt.

Mr Takolia is also on “special leave” from the Pensions Advisory Service, where he was appointed as chair in February.

His departure from Wye Valley has not been announced by NHS Improvement or the trust. The trust’s website named him as chair until 2 November.

HSJ has learned from well placed sources that Mr Takolia requested to go on leave from Wye Valley in early October to deal with his finances, but did not tell the trust that he had by that stage already been bankrupt for more than two months.

Mr Takolia then went on leave – he was not present at the trust’s 6 October board meeting – before finally stepping down on 17 October.

According to the London Gazette Mr Takolia, from Gloucester, was declared bankrupt at Gloucester and Cheltenham County Court on 28 July.

The bankruptcy petition was filed by a creditor: Hima Investments Limited, of Surbiton.

The London Gazette published the bankruptcy order on 4 August.

HSJ reported last week that Wye Valley Trust is entering into a “hospital chain” arrangement led by South Warwickshire Foundation Trust. Mr Takolia’s departure is not understood to be related to the tie-up between the two trusts.

A spokeswoman for NHS Improvement, the regulator of trust and foundation trust governance, said: “Museji Takolia has not been able to fulfil his duties as chair of Wye Valley Trust since the beginning of October 2016 and formally resigned his role on 14 October. NHS Improvement was not aware of Mr Takolia’s bankruptcy until after his resignation had been received. Mark Waller, the trust’s vice chair, has been acting chair during this period and has agreed to continue to serve in this capacity until a new chair is appointed.”

An NHS Improvement spokesman added that someone who has been declared bankrupt was not eligible to be chair of a trust under the fit and proper persons test. He said: “We think the fit and proper persons test covers this sort of situation; we would not seek to appoint or re-appoint an individual who was discovered to be an undischarged bankrupt.”

Wye Valley Trust has declined to say when it was notified of the bankruptcy.

Mr Takolia has not responded to HSJ’s enquiries.

Although people who are subject to a bankruptcy restriction order are not eligible to serve on an NHS trust board, Mr Takolia is not known to have had a bankruptcy restriction order applied.

He is listed by Companies House as the sole director of Invest-EQ Property Management Partners Ltd. The firm’s most recent accounts show at August 2015 it was more than £40,000 in the red.

He is also the executive chair of Intellicom Solutions Limited, an IT firm. The company’s accounts are more than 10 months overdue, while its annual return should have been filed in March, and has not been, according to Companies House.

Mr Takolia, who was awarded a CBE in 2011, is also the current chair of the Pensions Advisory Service, a post he took up in February after being appointed by the Department of Work and Pensions.

The service is an arm’s length body of the DWP which provides information and guidance on pension matters.

When he took up the role of chair, Intellicom’s accounts were already overdue.

Michelle Cracknell, chief executive of the Pensions Advisory Service, told HSJ that Mr Takolia was on “special leave”.

She said: “I can confirm that Museji Takolia has stood down from his role and [a] minister has appointed another [Pensions Advisory Service] non-executive, Ann Harris, as acting chair for up to six months or until the situation is resolved.”

Mr Takolia has previously served as chair of the Metropolitan Housing Partnership, as a non-executive director of the schools regulator Ofsted, and as a senior civil servant in the Cabinet Office.

  • This story was updated at 11.30am on 3 November to include an additional quote from NHS Improvement about the application of the fit and proper persons test.

Exclusive: Chair kept bankruptcy secret from trust