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May 23, 2014

NHI funds misused to pay Melinda Guerra’s hospital expenses

Alexy Rosado & Melinda Guerra

The audit of the Central Health Region is done, and the thirty-seven page report is out. It’s comprehensive and detailed, and paints a very grim picture of the health personnel who were entrusted with public monies. On Thursday night we showed you just a portion of the findings of the audit team. They point to serious financial irregularities, breaching of financial regulations, misuse of funds and shady accounting practices. The woman in the hot seat is Central Health Regional Manager Melinda Guerra. The report names her specifically, and also accuses her very specifically. There are other persons named, and blamed…including Finance Officer Judith Swift and in tonight’s story, Administrator of the Matron Roberts Polyclinic Alexy Rosado. Mike Rudon took a close look at the spending, or misspending of NHI funds…and has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

The Central Health Region operates separately from the Matron Roberts Polyclinic…separate staff, separate policies, separate votes and separate accounts. So why was the polyclinic’s NHI account used to fund the CHR’s 2013 Christmas party? That’s what the audit team asked on Page eighteen of the report. Six thousand dollars was withdrawn from the NHI account and paid to the Radisson, in three instalments. All payments were approved by Matron Roberts Administrator Alexy Rosado and Melinda Guerra.

 

As the investigation continued, the team found other withdrawals from the NHI account which had nothing to do with the Matron Roberts. Like twelve thousand, nine hundred and fifty-seven dollars and twenty-five cents used to pay for the CHR’s Christmas party in 2012. That payment was made in six instalments – three approved by Melinda Guerra and Judith Swift, and three approved by Melinda Guerra and Alexy Rosado.

 

Then there was fourteen hundred dollars withdrawn from the NHI accounts to pay for Melinda Guerra’s private medical expenses. Guerra was informed that this was a breach of financial guidelines for NHI funds, but claimed that the payment was an incentive to her. It appears to have been an incentive from Guerra to Guerra, since she authorized the check, and approved it along with Alexy Rosado.

 

In August 2013 Guerra also used the NHI account to buy herself a thousand dollar camera. That check was authorized by Alexy Rosado and Guerra. And there’s a lot more…like funds from the NHI account used to provide interest free loans to persons who don’t even work at the Matron Roberts Polyclinic. The account was also used to pay salaries for persons who don’t work at the polyclinic and bonuses for person who don’t work at the polyclinic, including FO Judith Swift. That specific account was also used to pay for thousands of dollars of materials to be used at the Central Health Region and to pay medical expenses for CHR staff.

 

And remember Lachman Tekchandani? Well Guerra used the account to pay him another two thousand two hundred and forty-five dollars, for uniforms. And incredibly, the NHI account was used to pay for gym membership for Melinda Guerra and FO Judith Swift. Those payments were authorized by Guerra and Alexy Rosado.

 

We close off tonight with a look at bonuses. It’s a very pertinent topic where CHR Head Melinda Guerra is concerned. According to the audit team the regulations are clear that bonuses are paid to clinic staff for good performance, and CHR staff is not eligible. But remember that camera that Melinda Guerra bought for herself out of NHI funds…she claimed that as a bonus. The team took issue with that, especially when Administrator Alexy Rosado stated that Guerra included her own name on the list of officers to receive a bonus.

 

And in 2013 check what Guerra does. A list of names of persons working at the polyclinic eligible for bonuses was submitted to the C.E.O., Dr. Peter Allen, for approval. Allen signed off on it and incredibly, Guerra then inserted her name and others onto the form. This was so wrong that even Administrator Alexy Guerra told the audit team that she was uncomfortable with the addition of names after the C.E.O. had approved the list.

 

There’s still much more, including other financial irregularities found by the team outside the scope of the investigation, and a long list of recommendations to the Ministry of Health. Join us on Monday for the final segment. Mike Rudon for News Five.

 

Of note is that Guerra continues as head of the Central Health Region. We have confirmed that she has been selected to take over the post of Western Regional Manager. 

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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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5 Responses for “NHI funds misused to pay Melinda Guerra’s hospital expenses”

  1. Timber says:

    Awwwww. Look at my post from when you broke the initial story. I told you all to dig deeper and there would be much more. It goes even deeper. I live in the US but just like I live in Belize. Interview a few people on a certain hospital board and higher up management in hospital. Read between the lines. Look at those folks and if your instincts are sharp, you’ll know who to go ask questions.

  2. Lord LOL says:

    Bloody crooked lady, she needs to go to jail. a gym membership? HA. I guess that went to waste since she is still fat.
    It seems like you can get away with anything in Belize once you’re a UDP align person.

  3. John Doe says:

    F****** disgusting. These people need to be locked up. Look at how NOTHING will happen.

  4. alberto lagos says:

    And you know what really piss me off that every body thinks that all Spanish people are like that ,that women should be on jail along with all those crooks including penner and castro . Look at her face all happiness and poor BELIZEAN people going to hell.

  5. Al Rich says:

    These people in government will continue to do this until they have to spend time in prison. There is no penalty for the thieves in government that is why it continues. The poor people are left with nothing while they live high on the hog using the government purse as their personal bank.

    Please start prosecuting these people, the corruption keeps getting worse, how shameful as a country.

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