Two men behind a corruption scandal at an NHS trust have been jailed after pleading guilty at Guildford Crown Court.
Peter Lewis, the former director of infomatics at the Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, has been jailed for three-and-a-half years for taking a bribe of £80,000 in return for awarding an IT contract worth £950,000.
Richard Moxon, director of the IT company that was awarded the contract, has been jailed for 14 months. The limited liability partnership he ran, Five Eight Partners LLP, was only registered in 2010, but was dissolved in 2014 after the scandal came to light.
The men were sentenced on Friday last week.
The successful prosecution follows an investigation by Surrey Police, which found that Lewis had demanded the bribe in return for the contract.
"Peter Lewis abused his position for his own financial gain. The prosecution evidence showed how Lewis approached Moxon for a bribe and had the money paid directly into the same bank account as his salary," said Stephen Rowland, specialist prosecutor from the CPS Specialist Fraud Division.
Both men pleaded guilty when the case was heard at Guildford Crown Court last week.
"Peter Lewis sought to greedily divert money from the NHS into his own pockets. While I am glad to see justice being served through his custodial sentence, my team is now focusing on recovering the money Lewis made from his crime, and returning it to the NHS," said detective superintendent Karen Mizzi.
She added: "I hope Richard Moxon's sentence will act as a warning to other public sector suppliers, who may be tempted to go along with a fraud rather than reporting an approach to the relevant authorities at the earliest opportunity."
However, Alf Turner, deputy chief executive of Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, suggested that it is "rare for members of NHS staff to be willing or able to breach their position of trust" even though he admitted that bringing Lewis and Moxon to justice was a "lengthy and complex process".
The fraud came to light in December 2011 when the Trust conducted a disciplinary probe into Lewis' relationship with a recruitment firm that also supplied the hospital.
An investigation found that 40 per cent of the ICT product supplied by Moxon did not meet the needs of the Trust. The Trust was able to recoup some of the lost money by incorporating Moxon's software into a new system, but still lost £433,000 on the project.
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