A MAN has appeared in court charged with encouraging and assisting the former chief executive of Torbay Hospital of committing fraud.
Habib Naqvi, 38, of Wells Road, Bristol, entered a not guilty plea to three charges in breach of the Serious Crime Act 2007 when he appeared at Torbay Magistrates’ Court on Thursday morning.
Naqvi was granted unconditional bail by District Judge Diane Baker and will next appear at Exeter Crown Court on June 24.
Paula Vasco-Knight, 52, the former chief executive officer at South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, and Stephen Vasco-Knight, 45, both of The Seasons, Runcorn, Cheshire, were due to appear at court as well.
However, the court was told that both were unwell and unable to travel to court because of a stress-related illness.
Paula Vasco-Knight faces three charges with dishonestly abusing her position as the former chief executive officer at South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, intending to make gains of £9,000 and £11,000.
Stephen Vasco-Knight, 45, faces one charge of fraud by false representation according to the Fraud Act 2006.
District Judge Diane Baker adjourned the case against them to a yet to be determined date when they will appear at Torbay Magistrates’ Court via videolink from Liverpool and Knowsley Magistrates’ Court.
A spokesman for Torbay and South Devon Healthcare Trust said: “We have now seen the charges against Ms Vasco-Knight. Whilst they reference South Devon Healthcare, as far as we are aware they do not relate to trust business. We understand that they relate to the national role held by Ms Vasco-Knight whilst she was chief executive with us. We are unable to comment further as legal proceedings are now underway, but will be able to do so once sub judice restrictions are lifted.”