Investigations heighten on Hospital Administrator Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 15 May 2014 00:00

Nasley Sommerville, the Administrator of the Southern Regional Hospital, located outside of Dangriga Town, has currently come under the heavy scrutiny of an inquiry by the Public Service Commission following an audit done by the Auditor General, Dorothy Bradley.

The preliminary findings of this audit suggested that she misappropriated $366,468.88 from the hospital’s Maternal and Child Health (MCH) bank account. The Auditor General and her investigative team are currently in possession of 181 cheques used to cash some $352,000 out of the account. Based on their findings, they believe Sommerville abused her authority as administrator over a period 45 months from January 2010 to October 2013 and withdrew money from the MCH account from the Belize Bank Dangriga Branch.

They suspect that she used 41 of those 181 cheques to cash out $81,316 which ended up in her Scotia bank account, number 12465 – 44685, which is where her government salary is currently being deposited. They also suspected that 5 cheques from the group were made out to herself as cash in which she managed to get her hands on $9,915 from the account.

49 cheques to a total value of 118 thousand dollars was cashed out by Sommerville. She also allegedly deposited 10 cheques valued at 15 thousand dollars into her credit union account. 71 of the cheques were made payable to other people, to a total of $145,000, and the Financial Intelligence Unit notes that most of that money ended up into her personal bank account. She also used 21 of the cheques to buy 20 thousand dollars’ worth of goods.

 Interestingly enough, the Auditor General also notes that 5 of the suspected forged cheques, to a total of $11,000 was made payable to a Ministry of Health colleague, Dr. Francis Morey, who was confronted about it. He told the Minister and the CEO of Health that it was part of a $15,000 loan that Sommerville gave to him with the understanding he would pay it back to her personal account.

 More worrisome findings from the Auditor General and her team are that she used the Maternal and Child Health Account as a sort of personal bank account. She made purchases from Brodies, Mirab and Hofius, which included watches, picture frames, perfumes, and kitchen, bathroom and household items for her personal use.

The Auditor General’s report notes that during the course of their inquiry, Sommerville tried to mislead them to cover her tracks, but with the bank’s assistance, they were able to see past the misinformation. Another important aspect of the embezzlement scheme is that the cheques were purportedly co-signed by Sommerville and the hospital’s Administrative Assistant Barbara Nicholas. She told the investigating team from the office of the Auditor General she knew absolutely nothing about these 181 cheques which her signature ended up on. She said her signature was forged on all, a few of which happened while she was on leave. If proven to be correct, it is an abuse of the public trust, where public funds were fleeced from the account.

It went unchecked for those 45 months because Sommerville went to the bank herself and she signed for and picked up the bank statements herself. They never reached the Ministry of Health or the other hospital employees because she covered her tracks very well. Sommerville was given a chance to respond to all the allegations against her, but she told the Auditor General that she would rather consult with an attorney before making any statement. That follow up interview never happened, and now, the matter is before the Public Service Commission.