Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ann-Marie Smith, Chief Magistrate of Belize

Ann-Marie Smith, Chief Magistrate of Belize

Chief Magistrate of Belize, Anne Marie Smith may be facing criminal charges for alleged misappropriation of funds at the Magistrate Court in Belize City, a source told NBZLive.

Chief Magistrate Smith was questioned by auditors regarding deposits to her personal account which were traced back to Government funds during an audit of the Magistrate Court by the Office of the Auditor General last year. Smith reportedly denied the allegations and only back-tracked after she was shown a copy of one of the checks.

This latest revelation forms part of a litany of thievery of government funds by government employees hired by the UDP administration. NBZLive broke the story in October of 2013 of former administrator of the Souther Regional Hospital in Dangriga Town, Nasley Sommerville who siphoned over $350 Thousand from the hospital’s National Health Insurance Fund. Sommerville has since been dismissed by the Public Service however no effort has been made to recover the precious funds or bring Sommerville to justice.

Nasley Sommerville, former Administrator, Southern Regional Hospital

Nasley Sommerville, former Administrator, Southern Regional Hospital

We also broke the story of Melinda Guerra, former manager of the Central Health Region who siphoned thousands of dollars from that facility. She was never criminally charged or tried for the offense.

Melinda Guerra, former manager Central Health Region.

Melinda Guerra, former manager Central Health Region.

According to our source, the audit done at the Magistrate Court in Belize city is replete with irregularities – the incidences of misfeasance so many that law enforcement had to be called in. We don’t expect that anything will be done since other acts of misapporpriation of funds by other staff at the magistrate court were similary ignored.

Bailiff at same magistrate court was suspended from duty after it was discovered that he was shaking down perons who owed court and pocketed their money. He was allowed back on the job after a few days on suspension. he also never faced criminal charges for theft.

Tolerance for Chief Magistrate Smith has long grown thin among staff at the court due to what staff describe as her unprofessional behaviour and stink attitude. The magistrate is known for raising her voice at staff and using the court and its staff as daycare for her young child.

Anne Marie Smith, a Jamaican was serving as magistrate in St. Lucia before she was brought to Belize in 2011 to fill the post after Belizean Chief Magistrate Margaret McKenzie retired or was forced off the bench by the Barrow administration.