Based on a directive from Cabinet, the Board of Directors of the George-town Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) has instructed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Michael Khan to proceed on leave until the end of his contract in July, 2017.
Chairman of the Board Dr. Carl ‘Max’ Hanoman made the announcement during a press conference on Thursday at the GPHC.
Hanoman stated that the decision to send Khan on leave was made by Cabinet, which then issued a directive to the board.
“Cabinet has said Mr. Khan earned leave to the end of his contract. They have written to me that he has to go… I am not going against Cabinet,” Hanoman said.
“If you are directed, it would be wise to go ahead with it,” he added, while noting that the board has always functioned in the “best interest” of the hospital.
Responding to the announcement, Khan, who was present, stressed that he was “not being sent home because of wrongdoing;” rather, he was “being sent on leave accumulated.”
Hanoman also announced that the board had received 10 applications for the advertised position of Deputy CEO. Interviews for the post are likely to begin next week. He lamented that when a candidate is selected, Khan would be unable to mentor the person. “I would have hoped there would be a better and smooth transition to learn from the senior person,” Hanoman noted.
Khan, who refused to address questions about accusations that have been leveled against him as a result of the findings of a forensic audit of the GPHC, directed reporters to question the Chairman since the board had an audience with the auditor.
Last September, Khan was asked to proceed on leave in order to facilitate investigations into the procurement and storage of medication and medical supplies at the corporation.
The special audit, which was conducted by Christopher Ram and presented to Cabinet in August, saw Minister of Public Health George Norton directing that Khan be removed as CEO.
The minister had argued that there was evidence in the findings that would indicate a level of inefficiency and incompetence on Khan’s part. This, he said, was enough to validate the decision.
Hanoman, however, has maintained that during an engagement with the board, the auditor did not present any information which would justify Khan’s removal as the findings did not provide evidence to support any wrongdoings on his part.
Hanoman, who had previously called for the minister to allow the board to function without interference, said that as Board Chairman he can only follow the directive given.
“I do not have any ulterior motives. If a report is sent to me, I ask the questions. If they can answer the questions and find the candidate at fault, then the board will discipline him/her. If they can’t find a fault and if the person who has done the inquiry has indicated to us the faults are not there, who am I to go ahead and discipline?” he said.