Two Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) staff members have been sent on administrative leave to facilitate an investigation of the $4M that could not accounted for during an audit last month.
“As a result of a Board decision, on Thursday October 24th, 2013 the Director of Financial Services and a Clerk from the Accounts Department have been sent off on administrative leave. This decision took immediate effect so that the probe into the disappearance of funds from the Institution could be continued,” a press release from the GPH stated.
At a press briefing earlier this month, Minister of Health Dr. Bheri Ramsaran disclosed that a total of $4.131 million could not be accounted for and said that a cashier was being held accountable for the missing money. He added that she was currently on bail pending the outcome of an audit being conducted by the Auditor General’s Office.
“We are dealing with an unfortunate situation of a scandal… which has demonstrated certain weaknesses,” Ramsaran, had said.
Stabroek News was told that the monies were discovered missing during a small department audit and the Auditor General’s Office was called in.
A source explained that the money comes from the various payments received by the hospital, such as partial payments made by patients for CT Scans—done at private institutions on a contractual arrangement with the GPH—and medical record printouts.
The source said that the female cashier was on the spot taken into police custody and the institution had first been thinking of having her sign a restitution contract. However, to date a decision has not been made on what her fate would be.
Ramsaran pointed out that currently the GPH is working with the Pan American Health Organi-sation (PAHO) to tighten up on its accounting systems for pharmaceuticals. “The hospital is now actively involved with PAHO… in setting up systems and learning how other jurisdictions… better manage their procurement inventory and distribution,” he said.
He said that while he supported the audit and awaits the outcome to ascertain the extent of the fraud, he has taken an “arm’s length” approach giving the relevant authorities room to execute their work.