Tuesday, July 22, 2014
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Local media in Capital City of Belmopan waited with baited breath for the arrival of the Southern Regional Hospital’s Administrator, Nasley Sommerville for a hearing by the Public Service Commission. Today Sommerville was scheduled to answer for over $366 Thousand which she reportedly siphoned from the Maternal Child Health Fund of the National Health Insurance (NHI) from Social Security (Workers’ money).

Although we probably know the answer – it does beg the question – is the Government of Belize interested at all to safeguard the people’s assets?

Sommerville did not show up this morning for the hearing because it was postponed by the Commission. No new date has been announced (not that we expect them to) or leaked to us.

News broke in October of 2013 that hundreds of thousands of dollars has been embezzeled from the Southern Regional Hospital’s Maternal Child Health Fund over a period of time.

“What they (Audit Department) found was 3 cheques totaling $7,060 which were drawn from the hospital’s account which manages funds for NHI deliveries of babies at the hospital, Ministry of Health CEO, Peter Allen told the media in October 2013. “They found 3 cheques totaling $7,060 which was made out to cash or to the administrator Nasley Sommerville. What is more distressing is that they cannot account for 189 cheques.”

“With 3 cheques totaling $7,060 – 189 cheques of course may amount to very significant sums of money and it appears that somebody was running a separate checking system, so that there were multiple cheque books. This may well amount to very significant sums of money. You had mentioned figures in the hundreds of thousands and I think that may well turn out to be true.”

And that amount sure turned out to be a very significant sum. Document leaked from the Auditor General’s office showed that Sommerville filched a whopping Three hundred sixty-six thousand, four hundred eighty-eight dollars and eighty-eight cents ($366,488.88)!

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How did she do it? She simply wrote checks to herself…..and her lover…yes her lover! NBZLive has been reliably informed that Sommerville who is married by the way – was having an affair with Dr. Francis Morey. Proof was supplied in the Auditor General’s report titled: SUSPECTED EMBEZZLEMENT OF $366,488.88 – MRS. NASLEY SOMMERVILLE – ADMINISTRATOR SOUTHERN REGIONAL HOSPITAL.

Sommerville Morey (1)

Sommerville Morey (2)

Dr. Francis Morey

Sommerville was scheduled to appear before the Public Services Commission on Thursday, May 8 2014 however that meeting was postponed to give the Commission time to update their information after the Auditor General’s final report came out April of this year. The reason for the second postponement is unknown. We can only speculate that the Commission haven’t completed their work from two months ago which is a crying shame.

Staff at Southern Regional Hospital are outraged and in some quarters there are calls for Sommerville to be dismissed in the interest of the Public Service. Frustration also swelled because of the difficulties Sommerville’s abuse of funds caused. Supplies and equipment have been in short supply – difficulties members of the community and staff at the hospital say would be available if the institution’s money wasn’t pilfered.

Sommerville has been enjoying a streak of luck since her exploits came to light. She has so far dodged being arrested and criminally charged even though a report was made to police. She continues to collect half salary while on suspension (a suspension which will apparently be indefinite) and once again has been spared the scrutiny of the Public Service Commission.

It appears no one gives a damn to safeguard the people’s assets not even the Minister of Finance, Prime Minister of Belize. The only person who has spoken to the media on this matter and all other gross acts of corruption emanating from the Ministry of Health is CEO Peter Allen – even though he has said a lot yet said nothing. Minister of Health Pablo Marin has been clueless!

Other reports of financial irregularities in the Ministry of Health are being treated in similar foot dragging.

The report which Allen referred to was the final report by Auditor General on the Southern Regional Sommerville case. Similar report surfaced of irregularities in the Central Health Region in which the manager, Melinda Guerra was implicated – so far nothing has been done about that case.

Gary Longsworth

Only last week Director of Finance Carlos Perrera was fired amidst reports of financial impropriety.

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The CEO Dr. Gary Longsworth was also sent packing last week when the board declined to renew his contract for another year. His tenure like that of Perrera’s was scandal riddled. Both are said to have been politically appointed.