30 Jan 2009

Otago DHB boss asked to resign over fraud case

6:59 am on 30 January 2009

Dunedin MP Pete Hodgson says any decision to sack the chairperson of the Otago District Health Board would be nonsensical and undemocratic.

Health Minister Tony Ryall has asked Richard Thomson to resign because of a $17 million fraud by the board's former IT manager Mike Swann and his accomplice Kerry Harford.

Swann and Harford will be sentenced in March.

Mr Thomson has refused to resign and says he now expects to be sacked.

Mr Hodgson, the MP for Dunedin North and former health minister, says Mr Thomson's public standing was tested in the 2007 local body elections and he was re-elected despite the fraud case.

He says removing Mr Thomson as chair would be acting against the democratic will of the people of Otago and sacking the man who helped catch the fraudsters is nonsensical.

Mr Ryall says he expects accountability in the health service and is following due process.