Two men were found guilty of offences against the NHS under the Theft, Fraud and Bribery Act following a seven-week trial at St Albans Crown Court on Tuesday, March 7.
The investigation was undertaken by the NHS Counter Fraud Authority (CFA), with the prosecution led by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The total value of all offences was more than £600,000.
Hasan Abusheikha, 47, was formerly a theatre manager at St Albans City Hospital Trust and was found guilty of the offences under the Theft, Fraud and Bribery Acts. He was remanded in custody to be sentenced at a later date.
Elmo Emanuel, who was chief executive officer of Implants International and Xtremity Solutions Ltd, was found guilty of one charge of bribing Abusheikha. Both of these companies supplied medical equipment to the hospital.
A second trust supplier, Jawid Khan, a director of TSI Med Ltd, had already pleaded guilty to one charge of bribing Abusheikha prior to the trial opening.
The court heard that Abusheikha was in a position of responsibility within the NHS, where he was able to procure medical equipment on behalf of the trust. As part of his role, he was required to make purchase order requests for items required for surgical procedures carried out within the hospital.
The investigation, undertaken by the NHS CFA, was able to prove that Abusheikha was in a relationship with two trust suppliers in which he accepted bribes to ensure that the trust procured medical equipment from the companies concerned.
During the investigation, Abusheikha’s house was searched, and a large number of orthopaedic implantable devices, surgical instruments and medical equipment with a value in excess of £65,000 was recovered. The investigation was able to prove that these had been stolen from the trust.
A third man had entered a guilty plea prior to the trial commencing.
All three will be sentenced at St Albans Crown Court at a later date, after which the NHS CFA and CPS will be leading a process under the Proceeds of Crime Act aiming to recover any funds fraudulently obtained back to the NHS.
Following the verdict, NHS CFA senior fraud investigator Gemma Quemby said: “We are pleased that we were able to work with our colleagues from the CPS to put evidence before the court to show the full extent of the criminality of those involved.”
Richard Rippin, head of operations of the NHS Counter Fraud Authority, said: “NHS CFA will always work to protect the NHS from those who seek to defraud it and divert money intended for patient care into their own bank accounts. We are delighted that we were able to bring this case to court to ensure the appropriate outcome for the NHS.”