Audit discovers mismanagement and waste at KHMH…but will heads roll?

Audit discovers mismanagement and waste at KHMH…but will heads roll?

Belize City, July 9, 2012

The findings into the Special Audit commissioned by the Barrow Administration after Delroy Herrera, a former employee, bravely blew the whistle last December on questionable practices and transactions have been out for weeks now.  Yet it was only made available to the media one week ago, after the Prime Minister’s arm was bent by reporters who demanded transparency.

The KHMH management had refused to provide the media copies of the findings before a scheduled press conference to discuss the same document. So in protest of that decision by the KHMH CEO, Gary Longsworth, most of the media houses including the BELIZE TIMES, boycotted the press conference.

The Special Audit was for the period April 2010 – December 2011, and while the auditors claimed not to have detected any criminal wrongdoing, they cited concerns and questions over transactions.

For instance, that the KHMH overpaid Skilled Solution, a foreign supplier, on one occasion, in excess of $17,000 for medical equipment which it never received. Despite that, the Hospital went ahead and paid Skilled Solutions another $10,300, and again it never received the items it ordered.  There was another instance when the same Skilled Solutions was paid for blood supply items to the tune of $22,500 but there is no evidence that the supplies made it to the hospital.

Then there was the matter of the use of the hospital’s credit card, which is reserved for its CEO, Gary Longsworth and the Financial Officer, Carlos Perrera.  On four separate occasions, purchases were made using the credit card in Houston, Mexico, Chetumal, and Belize for which no receipts were provided.

In its response to the questions raised, the KHMH states that the majority of the transactions that the auditors cited were within Longsworth’s allowance and required no receipts. The KHMH accuses the auditors of sensationalizing the issue. In his comments when presenting the findings, Longsworth said that he has never personally gained from any transactions that the hospital has conducted and that he would not compromise his job. He did acknowledge, however, that the hospital continues to tighten its system as the auditors had recommended. The KHMH had come under fire three years ago when members of the Belize Medical and Dental Union raised red flags that prompted a Commission of Inquiry over similar overspending and waste.

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