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Fish from Riva-Bottom - Cecil knows #344314
07/10/09 03:28 AM
07/10/09 03:28 AM
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 2,445
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Although it has been daily news on our National TV stations, the Government-related corruption at "Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital" has not yet been discussed on this board other than // I Googled San Pedro Daily, but it has been deafening silent on the subject. So for the sake of diversity I thought these two articles (one accusing and one defending) should be informative assets to this forum:

Originally Posted by 7 News Belize
Cecil Knowles: True-True Fish from Riva-Bottom

[Linked Image] The KHMH Board of Directors and the Medical and Dental Union are expected back at the negotiation table for mediation sessions tomorrow. And while relations remain tense, things generally are very cool as operations at the hospital are reported to be normal. But the temperature is rising from cool to hot to combustible this evening, as the former KHMH Director of Finance Cecil Knowles spoke out today. He has gone on multiple media outlets alleging that Chairman of the Board Dr. Ricardo Fabro directly told him act in a corrupt fashion. Now, we’ve heard of Dr. John Sosa referred to as a whistleblower – fair enough – but we’d have to put Knowles one step higher: he’s a fish from rivabottom – and the tales he had to tell us about the depths were profoundly disturbing. He says he only spoke out because.

Cecil Knowles, Former Finance Director

“I had no intention of getting involved in it. I had moved on from that since however Dr. Fabro and members of the Board continued up to yesterday to make statements that they find no evidence that Dr. Ricardo Fabro did anything unethical or did anything to jeopardize his post as the Chairman of the KHMH Authority Board. In fact they went further to say that the evidence from the quick audit showed that these things were done without their knowledge and outside of their term of office, specifically the Director of Finance’s term of office. I got upset because that was repeated many times in the media and I thought it was time for me to clear that specific issue.

They declared on radio yesterday that the current Director of Finance began to work on the 1st of July. I am saying if that is the fact then he owes them a lot of money because I am sure he was being paid before then.”

Jules Vasquez,
You mean he was being paid without being in the post?

Cecil Knowles,
“No I am just saying they are not telling the truth. They are saying he started work on 1st of July and I am saying no. He started to work before then. If they are saying he didn’t start to work before the 1st of July then they need to collect monies from him that he owes them.

You can take my point however you wish. I am saying they are clouding the issue. Secondly I am saying that Dr. Fabro had fill knowledge of what was happening at the KHMH and specifically what was happening and purchases were being made from De La Fuente at inflated prices and almost exclusively. While I am saying this is because shortly after Dr. Fabro was appointed Chairman of the Board, after the first board meeting specifically he came to my office requesting a list of all purchases. I supplied him with that information within half an hour. He questioned the information and I told him that if he wished he could come and do whatever investigation of the facts.”

Jules Vasquez,
He questioned it on what basis?

Cecil Knowles,
“He said this doesn’t look correct, he heard things, and he doesn’t see those purchases on this list I gave him etc. etc. I said well if you have a problem with it you can investigate it. I said how could I make this list up in half an hour to present to you. It is directly from my accounts. Shortly after that, I would say within a day he called me instructing me, “well you know how this goes, no more purchasing from Smiling Meats.” I said no problem, I understand fully. He then instructed me to purchase all, not some, all meat products from Gillet’s Meats and the proof is there. You can look, since Dr. Fabro became Chairman where we’ve purchasing meat products from. And when I mean all I mean fish, I mean poultry, and I mean other meat products. It is ridiculous for us to purchase poultry, we were purchasing poultry before from Quality Poultry Products, they are the suppliers of poultry around the country, I don’t see how you can get poultry more efficiently and effectively anywhere else but I was instructed to purchase from Gillett’s Meats.

Secondly I was instructed to purchase fish, of all things, from Gillet’s Meats, he is from Orange Walk. We used to get our fish from a local supplier at the fish market at Conch Shell Bay and thirdly Smiling Meats, I didn’t have much problems with that, you know how that kind of thing work.”

Jules Vasquez,
But the directive you received for the acquisition of food products was it a higher cost, was it a lower cost?

Cecil Knowles,
“The cost was not substantially different, the cost was not substantially however I was told to purchase from this person exclusively. The major issue I had was the fish that we got came without guts and with scales and I see that as ridiculous. Why would you direct me to purchase something from somebody that you are not even sure if this person can supply it. This is clearly showing that you are having clear preference and supporting somebody for whatever reason and a Chairman of the board should not get involved with those type of activities. That is basically the point I am saying. Basically I am saying and I am substantiating that Dr. Fabro gave me the directions. I did not get crazy over night. If you look at the chronological order of things, you will see that before Dr. Fabro was there we were doing certain things certain ways and after he was appointed, shortly after that changed.”

Jules Vasquez,
Did Dr. Fabro speak to you specifically about the acquisition of pharmaceuticals and from whom those should be acquired?

Cecil Knowles,
“He did not speak to me about the acquisition of pharmaceuticals. Dr. Fabro did not speak to me, Dr. Fabro instructed me to buy supplies that we needed, not just any supplies but when we need pharmaceuticals to purchase them from De La Fuente as long as he had it available. That removed any need for me to question or try to get it anywhere else. I instructed the pharmacist look, this is my instruction so whenever you want any pharmaceuticals ensure that you call De La Fuente and if De La Fuente has it, purchase it from them.”

Jules Vasquez,
And again you are saying that is not standard procedure for the Chairman to have called you directly indicating where pharmaceuticals are to be purchased from?

Cecil Knowles,
“That was not standard procedure and should not be standard procedure in any organization.”

Jules Vasquez,
Moreover, when you saw the prices from the De La Fuente Pharmaceuticals, were they irregular or exorbitant by your estimation?

Cecil Knowles,
“To be honest Mr. Vasquez I did not even look at the prices. I had a clear directive and I followed the directive and protected myself by emailing Dr. Fabro and saying Dr. Fabro I have followed your instruction and I will purchase from x, y, z. That is the way I did it thinking that I would have been there and if necessary that would be enough for me to support why I made my decisions and did what I did.”

Jules Vasquez,
So you were almost driving with blinders on?

Cecil Knowles,
“I wouldn’t say driving with blinders on.”

Jules Vasquez,
Or in the passenger seat at least.

Cecil Knowles,[b]
“Exactly. I could agree to be in the passenger seat. I was not with any blinders on but as I said I sent emails to Dr. Fabro saying that looked I have followed the instructions x, y, z and in addition, please Mr. Vasquez please, in addition the subsequent management meeting I went and informed Dr. Rosado the then CEO.”

[b]Jules Vasquez,

How did this make you feel?

Cecil Knowles,
“To some extent I understood that some of this type of thing would happen but not to the this degree and not this way.”

Jules Vasquez,
Additional supplies had to be procured frequently, how was the decision made, it is not available at Central Medical Store so the hospital has to acquire it.

Cecil Knowles,
“The pharmacist calls around to find out where it is available, at what price it is, and brings three quotations. I do due diligence to find out if his information is correct and then I recommend it to the CEO. That is how it was done.”

Jules Vasquez,
So it was always a least cost…

Cecil Knowles,
“Not necessarily. The best cost value.”

Jules Vasquez,
There has to be a quality component in it as well. So then it was extremely irregular the method of acquisition, the preferred method of acquisition that this person, that the new Chairman recommended.

Cecil Knowles,
“And that’s my point. I am saying if anybody wants to verify if any unethical or any irregularities happen then just check the chronological order of things and things changing. That is what I am saying and also that will support my main point that they are saying that these things happened with their knowledge, without their instruction, without their authority and even worse by previous members of the management of KHMH. That is what has me upset and that’s why. They have repeated it many times. Yesterday morning on Love was the breaking point for me. I decided look, enough of this I will make my statement.”

Jules Vasquez,
How do you respond if people will say well its sour grapes, they give another man your job?

Cecil Knowles,
“These allegations were in the media for the past month. I had not a word to say, not a single word. I smiled and I actually laughed, I said look at the circus. However, over the past three weeks they have repeated one fact: that these things occurred without their knowledge and by the previous administration, that is what got me upset and that is what led to this decision. Nothing else.”

Knowles was speaking form his desk at his new job, Belize Diesel and Equipment Company. But there’s always two sides to a story right? And the other side of this one says that all that that you just heard is simply not so.

Originally Posted by 7 News Belize
Dr. Ricardo Fabro Responds

[Linked Image] If you’re shaking your head, we were too, but Dr. Ricardo Fabro wasn’t: he was dead sure that Knowles was dead wrong, about everything. We spoke to him via telephone form Orange Walk.

Jules Vasquez,

First he says that you gave him a specific verbal directive to purchase all fresh produce including meat fish and chicken from Gillet’s Meats in Orange Wall. Is that true?

Dr. Ricardo Fabro, KHMH CEO
“I will deny that I gave him a specific directive Jules. I won’t deny that I was called by Mr. Gillett and I referred Mr. Gillett’s call to Knowles himself. What Knowles did with the call, that is Knowles prerogative but there was directive from myself for him to purchase from Derrick Gillett all produce.”

Jules Vasquez,
According to Mr. Knowles he was selling fish to the KHMH.

Dr. Ricardo Fabro,
“Like I said Jules I do not deal with supplies so I couldn’t tell you if that is so or if that is not so.”

Jules Vasquez,
But if it was so it would be irregular for a meat seller, a vendor, to be selling fish to the hospital?

Dr. Ricardo Fabro,
“I would not know, I would find it very strange if he was selling fish, definitely.”

Jules Vasquez,
The second allegation he made sir is that you again via verbal directive made it clear to him that he should purchase all pharmaceuticals which the hospital acquires directly, Del La Fuente was the preferred pharmacy to purchase from.

Dr. Ricardo Fabro,
“Again Jules I wish to deny that. I have never said no such thing to Mr. Knowles. Any calls coming in from any person to myself I did not receive it, I told them look I do not deal with those issues, talk to Mr. Knowles about it. I think that at this point, I think probably Mr. Knowles might just have some bone of contention to pick. I think he is responding in this fashion because of other things that might have happened in KHMH, namely himself leaving KHMH.”

Jules Vasquez,
He claims that he left one day and had a job waiting for him the next day, a job which pays more.

Dr. Ricardo Fabro,
“Well that’s what he’s saying but the real thing as I know it happened as this: Mr. Knowles was covering as Finance Director at KHMH when we came on board. For the past maybe two years he was covering a post that he was not qualified to do because that post calls for different qualifications which his background did not fit. Mr. Knowles was given one months notice while he assisted the new Finance Director to make an easy transition but Mr. Knowles right off the bat just resigned.”

Jules Vasquez,
Mr. Knowles also says that in fact while you all had been maintaining that the new Finance Director Mr. Perrera starred working on July 1st 2008, he says that Mr. Perrera was in fact there at least six weeks before and that he had the substantial duties of that post from six weeks before so you stating and the board stating that he was there and he is only responsible from July 1at 2008 forward is a known mistruth to you all and a misrepresentation of the facts. That is what Mr. Knowles is saying.

Dr. Ricardo Fabro,
“Mr. Knowles is saying that and that is not so because we have our record as to when Mr. Perrera came on board. I cannot tell you exactly the date but I know it to be sometime in July.”

Jules Vasquez,
So then Dr. Fabro is Mr. Knowles just making all this up? That seems far fetched.

Dr. Ricardo Fabro,
“Yes Mr. Knowles has a bone to pick and indeed I would say Mr. Knowles is making that up and I would say maybe it is a bit of a, how can I say, sour grapes.”

So who’s right and who’s wrong? We can’t call that one, but you heard Knowles say that he documented all the verbal directives in emails to Dr. Fabro. And where are they? He told us that when he resigned he didn’t bother keeping them around but he believes he may still be able to locate them. We’d encourage him to do so.

Live and let live
Re: Fish from Riva-Bottom - Cecil knows [Re: Short] #344470
07/11/09 03:28 AM
07/11/09 03:28 AM
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 2,445
Short Offline OP
Short  Offline OP
More money missing... more scandals in Belize City (and I am merely quoting the UDP TV station):
Originally Posted by 7 News Belize
Scandal at City Hall

[Linked Image] Prime Minister Dean Barrow held a rare and hurriedly put together Friday afternoon press conference. It was to make a major announcement about the deadlock between the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital’s board and its doctors. We’ll tell you about that shortly, but first to the big news of the day which is that tens of thousands of dollars - quite possibly more than a hundred thousand are missing from the Belize City Council and an arrest is imminent. Rumours had been swirling from earlier in the day but this afternoon at his press conference the Prime Minister dropped the bomb when he confirmed it. The Prime Minister didn’t say how much is missing or who stole it but he did say heads or at least one head will roll at City Hall. He says the City Council’s new government-appointed financial consultant Patrick Tillett is the one who blew the whistle.

Hon. Dean Barrow,

“That financial regulator who is Mr. Patrick Tillett reported to my office and to the Ministry of Local Government that in the course of his work he had uncovered what he deemed to be some serious financial irregularities. We and the Ministry arranged for him to make a statement to the police. That has now been done and it is my sense that arrests are going to be made in consequence of the report formally given to the police by Mr. Tillett.

My understanding is that there were irregularities in terms of monies being collected and not deposited.”

Keith Swift,
Do you know on whose part?

Hon. Dean Barrow,
“No I don’t. I know what the financial controller is saying but I am not going, he made a statement to the police. All I will tell you is that I understand the police are preparing to act against who I am not entirely sure. But again I am pleased that we sent this man in there to do a job and obviously he’s done his work and I wanted to make clear that the moment he alerted us to his findings, we said lower the boon. I don’t care who is involved, I don’t care who will be touched or involved by police charges, of the police inquiry, if you are guilty of financial irregularity, financial wrongdoing, you need to be exposed, you need to be charged, and you need to answer for what you did.”

Reports to 7News are that the figure was initially thought to be in the range of thirty to fifty thousand dollars – but reliable sources say that it is now in the six figure range – meaning more than one hundred thousand. Mayor Zenaida Moya was unavailable for comment but we did speak to the council’s Finance Director Duane Davis who told us he knows of no missing money and declined further comment. It is a developing story and we’ll have more on Monday.

But our PM takes the KHMH scandal seriosly:
Originally Posted by 7 News Belize
PM Barrow Will Appoint Commission of Inquiry for KHMH

And while the scandal at City Hall took the headline, the purpose of this afternoon’s press conference was for Prime Minister Dean Barrow to announce the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the allegations of corruption at the KHMH. Barrow says that the mere allegations from the hospital’s former Finance Director Cecil Knowles was enough to prompt the need for independent investigators.

Hon. Dean Barrow,

“I am going to appoint a commission of inquiry to get to the bottom of these allegations. I make no pronouncement on the merit or otherwise of what Mr. Knowles has said. Nobody must take me as accepting that there is validity in the charge that he has made. But the fact is he has made a charge.

He has merely heaped wood on the fire. There was a fire blazing in any case because there had been these allegations that there was corruption in the purchase of pharmaceuticals and in particular allegations of corruption regarding the purchase of pharmaceuticals from De La Fuente in Orange Walk. That is very much a live issue and I am saying that based on the preliminary audit, I am convinced that to put it mildly, a great deal of explanation would be needed to justify some of the purchases at the prices at which they took place from De La Fuente Pharmacy. That is why I called on the board to do something about what I saw in the absence of a satisfactory explanation. I am saying the board may well have been preparing to do something, I don’t know. The fact is that its now going to be taken out of their hands and given over to a commission of inquiry so that you and I and everyone can be satisfied at the end of the day that if as seems to be the case there was corruption, the light would be shone on it, it would be fully disclosed to the public, and whoever is guilty of it will be punished.”

It will be a three person Commission of Inquiry chaired by a member of the judiciary who will be recommended by the Chief Justice. The Trade Union Congress will get to nominate a member and so will the Ministry of Health. It will be a public commission of inquiry. And while they wait for the Commission of Inquiry, both sides will return to the mediation table on Monday. Labour Commissioner Ivan Williams told us today that he will be the mediator. Prime Minister Barrow who visited the KHMH just prior to the press conference – says he met with the doctors and the board and both have agreed to attempt another round of mediation.

Hon. Dean Barrow,

“And in the meantime we should move ahead with respect to urgent immediate remedial action. That can only happen if the doctors and the board will agree in the context of the mediation process that continues on Monday. The meeting that I had with the doctors, I thought was very productive. I will not suggest that they gave me any undertaking but I certainly came away with the impression that both processes would be allowed to work; the commission of inquiry process and the mediation process and that in the meantime there would be no action that would result in any interruption of services at the KHMH. Now I stress that I was not given an undertaking to this effect but it is my impression that that is how the doctors are prepared to move.

That arbitration tribunal, that process of arbitration will again be dealing with the structures, perhaps more generally terms and conditions of service and I am saying the issues there can be addressed separately without waiting on the determination of wrongdoing with respect to the purchasing of pharmaceuticals and the allegations of corruption made in that context.”

Live and let live

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