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UK jails Nigerian dentist for theft

Masterweb News Desk

( Saturday, January 19, 2008 )

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"Olojugba defrauded the National Health Service(NHS) of almost 140,000 by filing claims for gold crowns and bridges he never fitted."

Olowashe Olojugba, a 67-year-old Nigerian dentist who practices in Hulme and Wigan in the U.K. is serving time for theft spanning three years. Olojugba was the sole dentist at Hulme Medical Centre in Manchester, England and in the evenings worked from his home at Whitehall Avenue, Appley Bridge, Wigan. He qualified as a dentist in 1974 and was entitled to be called doctor as he had a PhD, his defense counsel told the court. He was given 18 month jail term in November at Liverpool Crown Court last year after pleading guilty to theft. Fraud investigators were called in after the scale of Olojugba's claims raised concern, but he continued the bogus claims even after the onset of an inquiry. The National Health Service is the publicly funded health care system of England .

The investigating NHS Dental Fraud Team discovered Olojugba's records at his surgery differed from the claims he made. They found 426 fraudulent claims for gold crowns and bridges in the value of 139,992. Interviews with his patients provided evidence he had not carried out work he claimed to have done. He was arrested but denied fraud charges. The case ended up in court and dragged on between March and November. Olojugba pleaded guilty to theft after prosecution rested its case against him and in return the fraud charge was dropped.

Steve McKenzie, of the NHS Dental Fraud Team said: "It is astonishing that a person in Olojugba's position would set out to line his own pockets so deliberately and callously." Jason Mansell, Olojugba's counsel, said his client had no previous convictions, was well respected in the community and presented testimonials in his support from an Appeal Court judge and a bishop both in Nigeria. He continued that: "The fraudulent claims submitted were padded and fleshed out honest work he had carried out, and had paid tax on the dishonestly obtained income."

Judge Graham Morrow as he sentenced Olojugba told him: "You continued to make false claims even when the Dental Practice Board was investigating you." Olojugba faces being struck off by his profession with the conviction and sentencing.

Olowashe Olojugba, the convicted 67-year-old Nigerian dentist.
Photo Above: Olowashe Olojugba, the convicted 67-year-old Nigerian dentist.
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