Ex-CEO yet to pay all money he owes DHB
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.