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Inquiry ordered into Peel mystery
Whistleblower: Ashton Foley. Picture: Ian Munro/ The West Australian

The Premier has asked Public Sector Commissioner Mal Wauchope to investigate a dossier of material that claims Peel Health Campus whistleblower Ashton Foley is wanted in America under a different name for fraud and identity theft.

Colin Barnett's office was sent the information last week by the hospital after it instigated inquiries by private investigators across several US States.

But Mrs Foley, who was praised after giving evidence to a parliamentary inquiry in November, said the claims were untrue and part of a continuing campaign to discredit her as a whistleblower.

She sent _The Weekend West _pages from her passport and a document to counter the PHC claims that she was in the US in 2008, when a woman with her date of birth and the name Michelle Marie Foley was arrested.

"It was not me," she said. "I have no criminal convictions in the United States or anywhere.

"I encourage you to seek fingerprints for the individuals involved, as they most certainly will not match my own."

Peel Health Campus provided the Premier's office with a mugshot it claims is Mrs Foley and asked for her allegations of fraud and maladministration against the Mandurah hospital to be reviewed.

"We started looking into the claimed career credentials of the person we knew at PHC as Ashton Foley, when she stated under oath before the parliamentary standing committee that she had a doctorate degree from New York University, information which had not been in her CV when she was appointed," PHC chairman Mark Stowell said.

"We have been shocked by what has since been unearthed. Every one of the many unsubstantiated claims she has made must now be treated with scepticism."

The Premier's office said the information about Mrs Foley's past needed to be looked into, given the findings of the parliamentary committee and the fact that a new inquiry, by neurosurgeon Professor Bryant Stokes, was under way.

"This material was immediately couriered to the Public Sector Commissioner with a request that he consider it and provide advice in the context of the Peel Health Campus inquiry," a statement from the Premier's office said. "No advice has yet been received."

Mrs Foley said yesterday she was still prepared to come to Perth from Victoria, where she now works, to give evidence to Professor Stokes.

"I will not be intimidated and regardless of what havoc they create, I will still be testifying next week," she said.

"The hundreds of documents and 15 years of fraud and misdeeds speak for themselves."

She gave evidence to a parliamentary committee about "incentive" payments being made to doctors to encourage them to admit patients, which would therefore benefit the hospital's private operator Health Solutions WA.

Dozens of internal hospital emails were made available to the standing committee on estimates and financial operations, chaired by Greens leader Giz Watson. Many of the documents were from the hospital's biggest shareholder and former chairman Jon Fogarty.