Ex-CEO yet to pay all money he owes DHB

The New Zealand Herald - - NEWS - Natalie Akoorie

A for­mer health board chief ex­ec­u­tive who re­signed over unau­tho­rised spend­ing has yet to re­pay all the money he owes.

The Waikato Dis­trict Health Board, where Dr Nigel Mur­ray was em­ployed for three years, says it does not know where he is.

How­ever lawyers act­ing for him said he paid back a sum to the DHB be­fore an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into un­ex­plained spend­ing be­gan in July and was await­ing con­fir­ma­tion of the out­stand­ing amount.

The board ac­cepted Mur­ray’s res­ig­na­tion on Oc­to­ber 5 “on the ba­sis that he re­pays all out­stand­ing amounts”.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion into his ex­penses found he spent more than the $25,000 agreed for his re­lo­ca­tion from Canada to Hamil­ton when he took the $560,000-a-year job in July 2014. The in­de­pen­dent in­quiry also iden­ti­fied other “unau­tho­rised ex­penses in­volv­ing po­ten­tial fi­nan­cial breaches of the chief ex­ec­u­tive’s obli­ga­tions”.

The Her­ald un­der­stands those breaches in­volve unau­tho­rised spend­ing of pub­lic money on travel and ac­com­mo­da­tion for two women.

The amount owed was less than $50,000, ac­cord­ing to the DHB.

It would be a month on Thurs­day since Mur­ray’s res­ig­na­tion was an­nounced and no more money had been re­paid, a DHB spokes­woman con­firmed.

“He has not fully re­im­bursed the costs and we are cur­rently li­ais­ing with his lawyer to re­cover the costs.”

The spokes­woman would not di­vulge who Mur­ray’s lawyer was due to “pri­vacy reasons” but the Her­ald sent ques­tions to the lawyer act­ing for him.

Calum Cartwright of Peter Cullen Law said when the mat­ter was brought to Mur­ray’s at­ten­tion “prior to the com­mence­ment of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the DHB, Dr Mur­ray de­posited a sum of money with the DHB to cover this mat­ter”.

Cartwright said the DHB was in the process of fi­nal­is­ing any amount out­stand­ing.

“Dr Mur­ray cur­rently awaits a fi­nal rec­on­cil­i­a­tion of the amounts in­volved, so he can make good if there are any fur­ther pay­ments re­quired.”

The DHB said it did not have con­tact de­tails for Mur­ray and did not know if he was still in Hamil­ton.

Cartwright would not say if he knew whether his client was still in New Zealand.

Mur­ray owns a house in the Tama­here sub­urb but his wife has said he does not live there with her.

New Zealan­der Mur­ray grew up in Wal­ton, a Waikato farm­ing area, af­ter his Amer­i­can doc­tor fa­ther took up work at Waikato Hos­pi­tal.

Mur­ray trained in the United States, and the Her­ald un­der­stands both the women iden­ti­fied in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion were Cana­dian.

The DHB spokes­woman said she was un­aware of a time­frame for Mur­ray to pay back the money.

He had re­ceived no pay­out when he re­signed.

Mur­ray’s res­ig­na­tion ended the in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­cause it could not be com­pleted “without the ac­tive in­put from the per­son un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion”, a spokes­woman said.

Mean­while, a brief­ing on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion find­ings, called for by the Min­istry of Health fol­low­ing the Her­ald’s rev­e­la­tions that two women were iden­ti­fied in the re­port, was ex­pected to be given by board chair­man Bob Sim­cock this week.

Nigel Mur­ray

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