One of the men heavily criticised over former Waikato District Health Board chief executive’s excessive spending says Dr Nigel Murray led a “double life in the most extreme fashion”.
Former DHB chairman Bob Simcock, who resigned over the debacle on November 28, said the State Services Commission (SSC) was using him as a “scapegoat” and had failed to “properly identify root causes and instead produced a report which is a scattergun of blame”.
“Unfortunately I am being held up as a scapegoat for some of what Dr Murray did, when it is now clear he led a double life in the most extreme fashion,” Simcock said.
Simcock said Dr Murray’s “double-life” included “multiple relationships, in multiple countries with multiple mobile phones”.
Murray sounds like someone who was dedicated to rorting the system. It is unclear if any of his actions were illegal (the SFO is investigating) but regardless a large organisation should have policies and procedures to prevent or minimise such rorting. One example is any significant overseas travel should be approved in advance by the Chair.
Webb praised the staff who blew the whistle on Murray’s unauthorised spending. “I’m really pleased that the report acknowledged the courage of DHB staff, who made repeated efforts to bring the issue of over spending and spending outside policy to Dr Murray’s attention, before escalating their concerns to the chair,” she said.
Good on the staff. I wonder if the Board has an audit committee. It is often best practice to have senior financial staff allowed to raise any issues of concern directly with the chair of the audit committee – bypassing the normal chain of command.