17 Nov 2008

Health board fraud trial begins on Tuesday

8:59 pm on 17 November 2008

The trial of two men accused of defrauding Otago District Health Board of almost $17 million will begin on Tuesday.

The board's former chief information officer, Michael Swann, and Queenstown businessman Kerry Harford deny three joint charges they face.

They are accused of fraudulently using 198 invoices worth $16.9 million between 2000 and 2006 .

At the High Court in Dunedin on Monday morning, a jury of four men and eight women was empanelled.

Justice Stevens sent the jury home for the day while he heard legal arguments from counsel in chambers.

Forty-one witnesses will be called to give evidence during the trial, which is expected to take three weeks.