The West

Star witness�  evidence shot

Ashton Foley - or whatever her real name is - did shine a light on some questionable practices at Peel Health Campus late last year.

But now that the hospital's former chief operating officer has been exposed as a wanted US fugitive, who can lie with ease and manipulate at will, her evidence is more than just tainted.

Even the Labor Party, which invested an enormous amount of political capital in Mrs Foley's decision to turn whistleblower, must now concede that the starting point for the entire affair is a woman who cannot be trusted.

It would be inconceivable for the latest inquiry, conducted by Professor Bryant Stokes, to continue as though nothing has happened when the credibility of the star witness lies in tatters.

The documents provided to Labor and last year's parliamentary inquiry may well stand up as evidence of maladministration at PHC, but the honesty of the insider who made them available doesn't hold up at all.

Mrs Foley's qualifications remain under a cloud. Regardless of which combination of her name was provided to New York University - and there are at least seven - there were no records to back up her claims of having a PhD, or anything else.

While she denies being responsible for the caption, she is described under a published 2007 wedding photo of her and husband Wayne Foley as a paediatric surgeon.

Former PHC chairman Jon Fogarty might have saved himself much grief had he done a thorough background check on her.

But he and others are now left to explain issues that have arisen through media coverage and formal inquiries into the privately run public hospital:

·Is a detailed investigation needed into PHC's financial controls?

·Does the Government/PHC contract provide value for money?

·Have there been breaches in relation to management of a $5 million sinking fund?

·Did "incentive" payments to doctors constitute fraud?

·Are the millions of dollars paid by the hospital to Mr Fogarty appropriate?

Questions remain, but there's no way Mrs Foley can still be involved in getting at the truth.

The West Australian

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