A formal complaint has been sent to the Serious Fraud Office over former Waikato District Health Board chief executive Dr Nigel Murray's expenses, the Herald can reveal.

Former Labour MP Sue Moroney laid the complaint yesterday following the DHB's release of a damning Audit NZ report that showed Murray took international trips while on sick leave, used public money for personal jaunts, did not declare hospitality, booked his own travel and tried to hide the breaches.

Murray quit in October amid the expenses scandal which prompted three investigations including one by the State Services Commission that is ongoing.

A spokeswoman for the SFO said it wasn't general policy to comment on complaints.

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Waikato DHB spokeswoman Lydia Aydon said she couldn't comment on any complaints other than to say the DHB would co-operate fully with the SFO if the director decides to investigate.

On Tuesday the Herald revealed the Serious Fraud Office was making preliminary inquiries into the case and later that day board chairman Bob Simcock resigned amid mounting pressure about his oversight of Murray's expenses.

Moroney said the complaint asked that Murray's expense claims be investigated. The complaint alleged unspecified amounts of those expenses were unauthorised, retrospectively authorised and in breach of Waikato DHB policies.

It's understood the amount billed to Murray was less than $80,000, including $30,000 he paid back in May for an overspend on relocation costs from Canada to Hamilton when he first took up the $560,000 per year job.

Nigel Murray spent $218,000 of taxpayers' money during his three years in the job as chief executive at Waikato District Health Board. Photo / Christine Cornege
Nigel Murray spent $218,000 of taxpayers' money during his three years in the job as chief executive at Waikato District Health Board. Photo / Christine Cornege

Moroney also asked the SFO to investigate the circumstances surrounding the DHB's decision during Murray's tenure to invest an estimated $17 million of public money into a contract with HealthTap, the American company that powers the DHB's virtual health app, SmartHealth.

Murray championed SmartHealth, spending more than $45,000 travelling internationally and domestically to learn about and promote the virtual health app after the proposal was agreed.

Moroney said her complaint fitted the criteria for an investigation "because of the public interest and the preventative impact of a successful prosecution."