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PHA board ‘won’t play political games’

By RICARDO WELLS

FRANK Smith, chairman of the Public Hospitals Authority, said the PHA’s board is not going to play political games with results of forensic audits into the entity because improving healthcare is the government’s “priority”.

Mr Smith said that the PHA board is pressing forward to correct the issues that exists within the corporation, adding that there are other elements of the PHA still being looked at.

Senator Smith said the board has accepted the details of a UHY Bain & Associates audit completed in March. The audit, one of several reports ordered by PHA’s board, raised concerns about the organisation’s management and practices.

“Some might try to make this issue a political issue and try to point the finger,” Mr Smith said on the sidelines of an anti-crime rally at Queen’s College. “We aren’t going to do that. We asked a number of questions because we wanted to get a firm understanding of what was going on with the Public Hospitals Authority.”

He added: “We asked because this administration wants to leave healthcare in a better position than we found it. We want to make healthcare better for the Bahamas because it is our top priority.”

The audit found that among other things, there was a $10 million difference in pharmaceutical inventory between the physical count and what was reflected in the computer system of the Princess Margaret Hospital.

However, PHA officials have blamed this discrepancy on a clerical error.

According to documents obtained by this newspaper, PHA Finance Director Daniel Knowles responded to this criticism by saying he found it “difficult to believe” that internal auditors, on whose work Mr Bain’s auditing partly relied, did not recognise the errors in their report given that PHA’s total yearly inventory never exceeded $4 million.

The official said the errors existed because the unit values for two drugs were incorrectly entered into the PHA’s inventory system, and that the pharmacy inventory for PMH had not exceeded $1.5 million for either 2012 or 2013.

Auditor John Bain dismissed this defence as a red herring, but stressed to The Tribune last month that he never suggested there was a $10 million shortage of anything, but had highlighted discrepancies in the system.

Mr Bain’s audit has also prompted the acting director of the Bahamas National Drug Agency to sue him and his firm.

The forensic report, the contents of which have been widely publicised, suggested that BDNA Acting Director Dr Marvin Smith acted fraudulently and was “involved in a suspicious transaction with an unqualified supplier”, a writ filed in the Supreme Court on October 16 said.

According to the court document, Dr Smith is seeking “exemplary and aggravated damages” along with a public apology and retraction of the forensic report.

Comments

countryfirst 9 years, 7 months ago

The entire board should be fired and some folks should be facing charges this sort of thing should not be tolerated.We have corruption at PHA,BoB,BAHAMASAIR,BEC,IMMIGRATION,CUSTOMS and everywhere else government is involved in we need transperancy we cant continue on this same path we have been on for 40 plus years it is not working our middle class almost dont exist.

SP 9 years, 7 months ago

Keep voting PLP & FNM.....You will learn the true meaning of "DIEHARD"

TalRussell 9 years, 7 months ago

Comrade Frankie Chairman Public Hospitals Authority, if it walks likes its a politically appointed duck. It can be quacked (fired) by the PLP cabinet. Its a damn duck.

kairosmatt 9 years, 7 months ago

Whenever someone begins a topic by saying they 'won't play political games' you know they are about to play political games.

dehavmoss 9 years, 7 months ago

Same old same old. Fiscally, we are now two levels above junk. Bahamians will not collectively see the importance of holding these under performing officials accountable until it is too late. Sad, but true.

Emac 9 years, 7 months ago

Yep...and the sun won't shine tomorrow!

KnightForTruth 9 years, 7 months ago

The PHA Chairman should be concerned with who is leaking out information to Candia just minutes after every board meeting; or maybe he doesn't have to look too far to see the person. Can you hear MJ's song "Man in the Mirror" in the background now? Why did he hire a small firm to do spend 9 months on a 6 year audit on a government agency that spent almost $2 Billion in that time, but only paid the guy $50,000? Is it because anything bigger than that would have to go to a tender system, and there would be no way for them to actually compete for that bid? Or was it because $50,000 might be the going rate for a paid messenger to say what he wanted to be said? Any accountant, forensic or not will tell you that $50,000 to do a 9-month audit for the past 6 years is a ridiculously low fee. I really hope this whole mess goes to court and UHY has to show the facts that they reported. If they do, then people need to be held accountable...all the way. If they cannot, then they should be made to pay for spreading untruths, and so should those who hired them in the first place, beginning at the TOP!

KnightForTruth 9 years, 7 months ago

I'm nit saying there isn't corruption in various government and private agencies, but if people are caught they should pay. I just find it strange that the report's author is being sued because normally in this country people don't fight back in the courts unless they have a really strong case and nothing to fear. A bunch of names were called, but this Dr. Smith didn't waste anytime going straight to the courts. That's not the move from someone who is worried about the report. That's a move from someone pissed at being accused falsely. Even if the report is wrong only on his part, doesn't that translate into serious issues for a professional forensic auditor? He accuses the guy of defrauding the public and the guy takes him straight to court. If the numbers added up to fraud there's no way this goes to court from him right? I smell a rat...a big forensic rat

ThisIsOurs 9 years, 7 months ago

Something is wrong at the PHA. To bad that we need to waste the courts time to get to the truth. Our entire country is laid on a foundation of bribery. give me $20 to push this application through for you. Forget the referendum, this is the kind of educational campaign we need, let people know exactly what ethics means, what corruption means and what conflict of interest means. Too many people grow up thinking criminality is "business sense"

SP 9 years, 7 months ago

FRANK Smith, chairman of the Public Hospitals Authority is real funny guy.

Tell us some more jokes Frank.....You and da boys dem really crack us up!

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