Former Fraser Health chief Dr. Nigel Murray facing fraud probe in New Zealand over expense claims
Dr. Nigel Murray, the former chief executive officer of Fraser Health who resigned three years ago from his high-paid post in B.C. to take a similar job in New Zealand, has resigned again and remains under a cloud of suspicion there over excessive, unauthorized expense claims.
Murray was the highest paid ($444,000 total compensation) health authority CEO when he worked in B.C. from 2007 to 2014. He then moved back to his native New Zealand but resigned as the chief of the Waikato district board last month after an independent inquiry found numerous potential breaches of his financial obligations.
He has reportedly agreed to repay all outstanding amounts and according to the latest media reports, the government’s Serious Fraud Office is now doing a preliminary investigation of Murray’s expenses and spending, as is the auditor general.
Murray was paid $560,000 ($490,000 Cdn) a year as head of a district health region that covers about 20 per cent of the population of Fraser Health. He was on leave for about three months while an audit of his spending was taking place. Some of the expenses related to relocation costs from Canada but more than $100,000 of the expense claims related to taxpayer-funded travel abroad. In one example of “lavishness,” Murray was criticized for spending about $1,000 a day at a swanky California hotel while on a Silicon Valley business trip. Murray travelled half the year last year.