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May 9, 2014

Audit Report says C.E.O. responsible for embezzlement at Southern Regional

Peter Allen

In October 2013, Administrator of the Southern Regional Hospital Nasley Sommerville was placed on suspension for suspected embezzlement of funds. A subsequent audit revealed that almost three hundred and seventy thousand dollars was siphoned off from the hospital’s Maternal and Child Health account over two years. Sommerville is to appear before the Public Services Commission. The audit report points to a total absence of controls and monitoring from the Ministry of Health. To be specific, the report states that ultimately, C.E.O. Peter Allen is responsible.

 

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

“It’s interesting that this report is out because I was of the understanding that it was before the Public Services Commission and so I am reluctant to debate the contents of the report which of course the individuals named in it have not had the chance to respond. But as you know the buck has to stop somewhere and I believe that is probably what the report says, that the Chief Executive Officer is also the Chief Accounting Officer and therefore ultimately within that ministry the Chief Accounting Officer is responsible for what happens, but you understand that we are a very broad ministry, a very big ministry…the individual actions are taken at a different level.”

 

According to the report, there was no evidence that the Ministry of Health ever conducted any checks on the Maternal and Child Health Account. They apparently never received any of the bank statements, so never did any bank reconciliations. The report suggests that because of this negligence, Sommerville was able to use the government account like it was her own.

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