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Jul 13, 2012

Health Ministry C.E.O. says zero tolerance for K.H.M.H. Financial Irregularities

The K.H.M.H. special audit was not released to the media until July fourth. The K.H.M.H. executive would not allow the media to review the document prior to giving their slant on the findings, which resulted in a media boycott. The audit revealed that established procurement practices for medical supplies were not adhered to. Travel allowances would be given to the administration and the records showed that the hospital’s credit card was still used to issue per diems. Ninety transactions were recorded by the audit as transactions during which no receipts were given. But the Nation’s referral hospital paid thousands of dollars to companies for supplies it never received. In only one instance, a foreign supplier Skilled Solutions was paid seventeen thousand and ninety-eight dollars for medical equipment never delivered.   There were also instances in which equipment arrived but were their values were reduced to zero balance at the end of the financial period without explanation. The K.H.M.H. administrators, in particular C.E.O. Gary Longsworth and Financial Controller Carlos Pererra have rejected requests for interviews following the audit; whether or not it has anything to do with the purchases at Becky’s Gift Shop, Sam’s Club in Chetumal or Modern Time Jewelers in Houston we can’t say. However, News Five spoke to the Peter Allen, C.E.O. of the Ministry of Health who says that there is zero tolerance for financial irregularities and the audit is an issue that the K.H.M.H. board must deal with very soon.

 

Jose Sanchez

“As you are aware, the K.H.M.H. Audit has been released and we noted that in 2008, a company called Skilled Solutions came into existence and that same year, it seems it became the preferred supplier of medical supplies for the K.H.M.H. Why is the K.H.M.H. buying medical supplies from a home? It is not even established as a medical supplier in the U.S.”

 

Peter Allen

Peter Allen, C.E.O., Ministry of Health

“Well I am not sure of the details of Skilled Solutions, of when they came into being.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“At least in Florida, they came into being in 2008.”

 

Peter Allen

“I see and certainly from the point of view of the board, there has been some very important issues raised by the recent audit which the board is discussing amongst its membership precisely how we should proceed and that’s certainly one of them. My understanding is that the audit showed that a proper tendering procedure had gone through in order to make any purchasing from that company as with all other companies. And I understand that sometimes the business address of a company is simply a home. But that notwithstanding, it is an extremely important issue and the board wants to make sure that it is addressed.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“Even though the tendering process might have been good and may have given good prices, repeatedly it showed that Skilled Solution received double payments; in one case seventeen thousand dollars for materials that the K.H.M.H. never received. And it seems that that happened repeatedly—we don’t know how many times; since the audit only shows for a very specific period of time.”

 

Peter Allen

“Anything that has to do with double payments or anything that has to do with financial irregularities we have absolutely zero tolerance for.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“Then again, even though there is zero tolerance, the issue came up repeatedly and there seems to be alleged collusion between someone in Skills and the K.H.M.H. Mistake as it is, they also produced a document—a letter of credit—to say that well we are going to take from this letter of credit for something that you owe us for already. And they produced a purchase order number that belonged to a transaction that was completed in Belize with James Brodies and Company Limited. So how can a company, this house in Pembroke Pines, come up with a purchase order for a transaction for James Brodies? It seems as collusion or corruption.”

 

Peter Allen

“It certainly sounds as it from what you say. Certainly the board will want to look at all of those allegations of improprieties. What I can tell you from the board perspective because we don’t like to micromanage, but obviously we have to look at this thing very closely now. But I can tell you that with more or less the same budget as last year and the year before and the year before that, Karl Heusner is now providing nearly twice as many consultations and twice as many surgical procedures. You know, as well as I do, that there has been an increase in the amount of violent crime; there has been an increase in a number of road traffic incidents. And those total number of cases, almost all, are dealt with by the good health care providers of Karl Heusner. So I see on the one hand that we have good health care providers and I see that we are getting more output from the hospital from same budget, essentially the same budget. And then I see on the other side that there are allegations of impropriety. And the two don’t seem to match up quite properly because if there is fraud, then I would expect that the budget would not go as far as it is. But in fact, it is going much further than it’s ever gone before. So we have to look at what are the good things that the institution is doing and then we have to make sure that any financial irregularities are completely clarified, completely dealt with and that we move forward because this is such an important institution for the country.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“I hate to belabor the point, but the same issues we also saw with another company, Flamingo Export. And now that you mention the budget, even though the budget works, you see instances bulbs, different things that cost thousands are entered in one day and by the end of the year they have a zero balance in the books. No explanation why; stuff not being put into inventory that’s on the record as being bought and paid for.  You see so many different things within this audit—well we have not even gotten to the credit card issues as yet—but it seems that the K.H.M.H. needs an internal auditor.”

 

Peter Allen

“Well you know the board had discussed that some time ago. We actually established an internal audit group which has already been reviewing many of those things from the board level. The board received its first report from the internal audit committee just a couple weeks ago. But again, those allegations of wrong doing, if true, need to be dealt with and need to be correct as soon as possible.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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6 Responses for “Health Ministry C.E.O. says zero tolerance for K.H.M.H. Financial Irregularities”

  1. Storm says:

    Except for a few secret national security items, I think all records of how public money is spent is the business of the public. These records need to see the light of day, ALL OF THEM, not just a summary or report.

    If money was stolen, misappropriated, wasted, IT WAS TAXPAYER MONEY. Taxpayers have a right to see it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

    There’s nothing like 300,000 pairs of eyes watching to keep officials honest, or to remove them if they are dishonest.

    I am sure there are a few sharp Belizean accountants who could figure out exactly what happened and who did it if these original records were made public. SO LET’S SEE THEM? What does KHMH or GOB have to hide?

  2. naughtbbgrl@yahoo.com says:

    It aint happenin

  3. Rod says:

    This guy should be fired he is just like the pm both in charge and neighter one knows what’s going on in his surroundings then the ones who stole the po people money should be prosecuted and put in jail why are criminals in this gov. Not going to jail first the ones who landed the plane with drugs no one in jail then the air port scandal no one in jail when caught red handed then perdomo letting anyone come in the country for money he is not in jail then police robbing and killing people and no one in jail how much more corrupt and incompetent can this pm and gov. Get damm.

  4. Poor Stupid Patient says:

    “if there is fraud, then I would expect that the budget would not go as far as it is. But in fact, it is going much further than it’s ever gone before.”

    Mr. Allen, if the Health Budget seems to be going further than it did before, despite all the obvious irregularities in that Institution, then it just proves what we’ve known all along as Belizeans: If it weren’t for the crooks and thieves we repeatedly place in charge of the public’s purse, the average Belizean would be living a fairly comfortable life, instead of a whopping 60% of us being poor or indigent!

  5. whistle blowerII says:

    ask Peter Allen about the new private company formed to “manage and service” the BHIS ,belize health information system. lets follow the maney trail, who owns Skill Solutions. In the first audit it was discovered that the Chairman of the Board a Doctor had formed his own farmaceutical import company and was husstling with many doctor friends, no one was ever charged, now it is the CEO and CFO

  6. BMNJ says:

    If fraud = going much further than it’s ever gone before; therefore, no fraud = going extremely further than it’s ever gone before. It may be able to provide even more free dialysis treatments to the very poor in this country.

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