Trinidad – Fraud Squad probing parents
PORT OF SPAIN– Fraud Squad detectives have summoned at least 14 parents for questioning as they probe allegations of theft at the Children’s Life Fund Authority (CLFA).
This was money promised to the parents of sick children to assist in their transport and meal costs, which to date remain unaccounted for, with even the current board clueless about the missing money.
Former CEO Genevieve Madoo has alleged a former employee obtained close to US$7,700 (some $50,000) by duping parents into signing receipts for money they were supposed to receive for day-to-day expenses when they travelled with their children for operations in Colombia, Argentina and the United States.
The former employee from Central Trinidad was suspended and never returned to work.
In attempting to verify if the money was obtained by at least 14 parents at that time, Madoo met with several parents in May 2014.
Sources told the Express that Madoo, who had first blown the whistle on the alleged fraud, was grilled for a second straight day yesterday by detectives about what she allegedly uncovered.
Several parents, who spoke to the Express on the condition of strict anonymity, confirmed the police had contacted them and were being asked to come in and give statements as it relates to the allegations of theft.
“Imagine, only now, after so long, they ask us to come in and talk to them about this, something they had on their desk for more than a year now,” one of the parents told the Express.
Several parents had given testimonials to Madoo in April this year, indicating they had never received any monies for meals and transport. These testimonials were later forwarded to the Fraud Squad, together with an official report Madoo prepared for the police, which the Express reported on exclusively on Sunday.
Yesterday, the Campbell family spoke out for the first time about the lackadaisical treatment CLFA meted out to them when their 15-month- old son, Kerron Campbell, was supposed to obtain a follow-up emergency procedure.
When the family returned from the Colombia hospital, Fundación Cardiovascular de Colombia in Bucaramanga, in January this year, the cardiologists had recommended there be a strict paediatric cardiology follow-up in two weeks and strict paediatric neurology follow-up in three months.
After four months had passed and the Campbell family from Rio Claro were unable to get any feedback from local specialists, there was finally a glimmer of hope.
A specialist medical officer of paediatrics at the Sangre Grande Hospital scheduled a backdoor ECG (electrocardiogram) appointment for them on April 27 this year.
That ECG was interpreted by Dr Torres at Mount Hope and, based on this letter obtained by the Express, showed the pulmonary artery (PA) band which was to be at a maximum gradient of 56mm was actually functioning at a gradient of 135.34mm.
Torres noted this was “very tight” and declared Kerron’s case an emergency and recommended immediate removal surgery.
Two days later, Torres and Kerron’s parents met with an official of CLFA, and Torres recommended all necessary funding be made available for this life-saving procedure.
“She took all the documents and give us the assurance that she would call us as soon as possible because this was like extreme, but we never got the call and the child passed away,” Campbell said.