As we promised you, tonight we take an in-depth look at a special audit of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, requested by the Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance. It covers a one year period, from July 2013 to July 2014, and specifically examines the relationship between the K.H.M.H., Orange Walk based S.P. Group and Hong Kong based Spring Holdings. What it reveals is a multitude of apparent irregularities in the purchase of two x-ray machines and medical supplies, but very little concrete information, simply because it was not available. Mike Rudon tried to get to the meat of the seventy-seven page report and has the story.
Mike Rudon, Reporting
The audit of the KHMH was commissioned by the Financial Secretary at the request of the Board of Governors of that institution. They were concerned about the purchase of two x-ray machines and also medical supplies, and wanted some answers. Well, at the end of the audit there are actually more questions than answers. Here’s a look at the summary presented by the audit team in a nutshell.
One – there were no documents to confirm that the Board of Governors was consulted and kept informed about the purchase of the two machines. Two – There was inadequate documentation to confirm whether the KHMH consulted with relevant personnel prior to purchasing the machines. Three – the KHMH did not comply with proper procedures in sourcing the machines. Four – the KHMH did not follow financing protocols in the procurement of the machines. Five, it appeared to the audit team that where the financing agreement was concerned, the KHMH was charged interest on advances already made. Six – it wasn’t clear whether the KHMH was authorized to get a loan from a private company. Seven – money from other projects was used to meet financing arrangements with a private supplier. Eight – the x-ray machines were delivered without proper documentation and without a warranty. Nine – the team was unable to confirm specifications of the machines and ten – the team was unable to determine if the machines were bought at a reasonable price. Now with all that said, these are the facts. The two x-ray machines were purchased from a group called Spring Holdings, based in Hong Kong. According to a quotation provided to the KHMH by Spring Holdings in July – one model cost ninety thousand dollars, while the other cost four hundred and nineteen thousand. The KHMH did not end up dealing directly with Spring Holdings, but purchased the machines using a loan from another company based in Orange Walk, S.P. Group Limited. Under that new arrangement, the machines landed in Belize cost one hundred and nine thousand, five hundred and fifty dollars, and four hundred and eighty-five, eight hundred and thirty-five dollars respectively. The KHMH paid for those machines using the loan from S.P. Group. Here’s another fact – the two x-ray machines, delivered without proper documentation, were still stocked in boxes in a room at the KHMH at the time of the audit. The audit team could not ascertain anything about the machines from a physical examination, and there is no documentation attached. So the matter of the x-rays seem to be a dead end where the audit is concerned. Both persons integral in the whole transaction are now gone – former Director of Financial Services Carlos Perera and former CEO Gary Longsworth. Like we said – many irregularities and many questions, but few answers received and none forthcoming. Interestingly, one of the players in the whole matter can’t be found. Both the audit team and the media have tried to get in touch with Spring Holdings, based in Hong Kong, but the address listed for the company is allegedly not valid.
We note that the audit also reveals that the K.H.M.H. paid Spring Holdings almost two hundred thousand dollars for wrappers and surgical gowns. At the time of the audit, although full payment was made, the materials purchased had not been received by the institution. And since nobody seems to know how to contact Spring Holdings, we’re not quite sure how that’s going to turn out.