This release was issued under a previous government.

Health Minister Fred Horne issued the following statement in response to concerns around an AHS executive whose contract was terminated over expense claims accrued in a former position:

“Last week, information was released revealing unacceptable expense claims paid to Alberta Health Services senior executive Allaudin Merali when he was Chief Financial Officer of the former Capital Health Authority in 2005-08.

“Like all Albertans, I was outraged to learn of these events. But unlike all Albertans, I am accountable to them for the operation of our health care system.

“Accordingly, I have taken the following actions to get to the bottom of what happened and to put measures in place to ensure no recurrence of such unacceptable practices: 

  1. I have been advised of the Board of Alberta Health Service’s decision that no severance will be paid to Mr. Merali.
  2. I have ordered AHS to retain an independent audit firm to conduct a forensic audit of the expenses in question to determine if, in fact, those expenses were in compliance with policies and procedures of Capital Health.
  3. I have further instructed that AHS give that audit firm the authority to expand its review should other questionable practices and expenses be uncovered.
  4. Finally, In addition to these actions, I have instructed that the Auditor General’s report with respect to AHS’ expense and travel policies which was requested by the organization be delivered directly to me. This way, I will be able to ensure the implementation of policies that are as stringent as possible and in line with best practices of other public sector organizations.

“Additionally, my colleague, Don Scott, Associate Minister of Accountability, Transparency and Transformation, will be announcing a further review of hiring, selection and contracting priorities at AHS, in conjunction with a government-wide initiative.

“If Albertans are going to have confidence in our health care system, it is imperative that they know we are doing everything we can to ensure we never see something like this again.

“Today we are taking the first steps to begin to win back the confidence of Albertans in our AHS.”

- 30 -

Media inquiries may be directed to:

Bart Johnson
Press Secretary
Ministry of Health
780-427-3665 (office)
780-446-9190 (cell)
Email: bart.johnson@gov.ab.ca

To call toll-free within Alberta dial 310-0000.