Alberta Health Services has hired Ernst and Young to audit expenses claimed by a number of executives and board members for the former Capital Health Region.

The executives could include former CEO Sheila Weatherill and current ethics commissioner Neil Wilkinson.

The move comes three weeks after Alberta Health Services terminated the contract of chief financial officer Allaudin Merali, hours before CBC News aired a story about how he claimed tens of thousands of dollars on lavish meals at high-end restaurants, bottles of wine and a phone for his Mercedes while he worked for Capital Health.

The expenses were approved by Weatherill, who resigned from the AHS board the next day.

The province announced earlier this month that there would be an independent forensic audit of Merali's expense claims. The expanded Capital Health audit will focus on the fiscal years between 2005 and 2009.

Scott Hennig, Alberta director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, is pleased the government is taking action.

"I think it's good. I mean clearly if the guy in charge of approving the expenses was expensing those types of things, who knows what he's approved over his years," he said.

"I think it's greatly important to go back and find out what other kinds of things made it past the not-too-stringent policies that were in Capital Health."

The results will be sent to the Alberta auditor general and health ministry. They will also be released to the public.