NHS fraud trial: Children’s Hospital at Neasden ‘secretly funded’ by its ex-CEO

The ex-CEO of the former Children’s Hospital at Neasden has been accused of concealing “secret fundings”, a judge has heard.

Mr Mui Lian Wong was at the Old Bailey where he is facing conspiracy to defraud charges, having been arrested along with five others in November 2017.

Safie Hambleton, who is 28, Rashid Roshan and Ayodele Idowu are also accused along with Mr Wong.

They are said to have conspired to ensure that the operating budget of £3.6m for one of the hospital’s rehabilitation departments was grossly underfunded.

The funding, which was to have been obtained from central government funding by securing a loan against public assets, was instead used by the defendants to pay for personal expenses, it is claimed.

Gary Glazer QC, for Mrs Hambleton, said: “At the heart of this case is the nature of the argument as to how much money was spent, for how long and who the beneficiaries were.”

He said the issues were about how much was spent by Mr Wong and Ms Hambleton on services for children and what kind of services were provided.

He claimed that all of the defendants sought to conceal that “between September 2016 and May 2018 the defendants were only using 1% of the operating fund to complete the day-to-day business”.

But Andrew Tickell QC, for Mr Wong, said his client was being unfairly criticised in relation to payments from his own personal bank account.

He said that when asked “who was responsible for the expenses”, Mr Wong was “simply asked who was paying for them”.

Mr Tickell added: “That was not an over-broad question, it was a direct question, and those who make it into a fundamental issue should realise that.”

Giving evidence at the Old Bailey, a former employee at the children’s hospital, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she did not think she had a job with Ms Hambleton after they applied for a job together in 2014.

She said she worked for Ms Hambleton and Mr Roshan for eight months, and noticed when she was transferred to a different department Mr Roshan was increasing his workload.

But she said that she did not suspect any wrongdoing and could not find any legitimate reasons to move the jobs.

In her evidence, the witness told the court that between 2012 and 2015 there was “a steady stream of cash” that would be deposited into the department’s bank account, largely from funds paid by charities.

These were in part provided for the first year by the local MP’s office, she added.

The witness said that after “doing some research”, she discovered that that cash was not being used to fund the hospital, but instead given to Ms Hambleton and Mr Roshan as their salary.

And when she went to the bank with that information, it was explained to her that the money would be made available to the children’s hospital for its operations in the future.

But when she asked about it again in 2014, the witness said that the amounts were actually being used to pay for personal expenses.

“When we got the accounts back and I looked at it and asked how the funds were being used, they said they were used to pay for things like travel, bills, jewellery, coaching, this was discussed openly and disclosed,” she said.

Giving evidence from a Chinese interpreter, she said that a search of Ms Hambleton’s computer for addresses of the people who funded the charity from these funds “found no addresses on her computer”, but instead all of the payments were made into her personal account.

The witness said that her concerns about the matter were told to Mr Roshan.

But he told her that he could not believe it, and said it was her own money.

She said that Mr Roshan also refused to get a second opinion on the numbers, and Mr Roshan said that the numbers would soon be released.

The trial continues.

Leave a Comment