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Sep 27, 2018

NICH Internal Auditor Terminated for Incompetence

Roberto Matus

Since embattled President Sapna Budhrani was placed on administrative leave, Doctor John Morris, the Director of the Institute of Archaeology has been at the helm of the statutory body. It was at his desk that the findings of an external audit by Baker Tilly Hulse landed and was later presented to the Board at a meeting on Wednesday in Belize City. The external found that internal audit was flawed.  The troubles for Budhrani began after internal auditor Roberto Matus claimed irregularities in fuel consumption, vehicle usage, and finances under Budhrani. The tables have now turned for Matus as today; Doctor Morris says that he took the ultimate decision, supported by his fellow board members, to terminate the internal auditor. Morris speaks to previous occasions when a former acting president also had issues with an audit from Matus.

 

John Morris

Dr. John Morris, Interim President, NICH

“A resolution was passed by the board of NICH to terminate his services primarily because they felt a lot of errors were made and NICH can’t continue in that direction. We need to go outside and hire a new internal auditor who is capable of doing the job and that was principally a recommendation that most of the board members agreed to. It’s not my forte, it is not my desire to see people fired because I am a long serving public officer, but there are times when the necessity is there. And I don’t think that he was capable of…NICH is a very complex organization and it requires a very, very good internal auditor.”

 

Duane Moody

“Sir but some people may be of the opinion that he is being sacrificed because he blew the whistle on what was happening inside the NICH in terms of the mismanagement of funds and all of that.” OUT 05:34

 

Dr. John Morris

“Not really because if you look at the audit that he did; due diligence was not done. When you do an internal audit, if you find an example of let’s say the misuse of fuel, you need to go to the director of that particular institute and say this is what I have found, do you have an explanation for it. And if there is no explanation then you can document that. Or you look for patterns, patterns of spending habits that may lead to something else, but one incident doesn’t lead to mismanagement. There were major discrepancies in his report. In fact if he had simply sat down with the finance officer, he would have found out that his reporting of the fuel usage was literally off the mark.”

 

Reporter

“But what was his explanation for that? He is the internal auditor; he should know what the procedures are in this process.”

 

Dr. John Morris

“Well I asked him about it. I asked him about it. Now they say you should never flog a dead horse or when I person dies, you should not malign them. I simply don’t think that the internal auditor is very competent.”

 

Duane Moody

“So how was he hired in the first place?”

 

Dr. John Morris

“Now that is a question…I don’t have an answer for that because I don’t hire administration people. I think it is about three or four years. But from what I recall, we have always had issues with his reports. It is not the first time; in fact the previous interim president of NICH sent back a report.”

 

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