BREAKING: “Inappropriate Spending Culture” Found in TNRD Audit | iINFOnews

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(DARREN RATHWELL / iINFOnews.ca)

December 16, 2021 – 2:18 PM

Forensic investigators today are presenting the findings of the forensic audit of the Thompson Nicola Regional District expenses, but the full report is not being made public.

What started as a thorough forensic expenditure audit eventually spread to investigations into government procurement and supplier contracts.

Simon Padgett, director of litigation and forensic investigations at BDO Canada LLP, said there was an “inappropriate spending culture” in the regional district.

“(The regional district) promised a full and transparent outcome of these findings,” CEO Scott Hildebrand said ahead of the presentation. “Our lawyers have indicated that a full copy cannot be released at this time.”

Padgett presents BDO’s forensic audit report and recommendations to the Board of Directors at the December 16 board meeting.

The forensic audit was triggered by the retirement of former chief executive Sukh Gill and a subsequent Kamloops This Week investigation.

The year-long investigation revealed approximately $ 500,000 in credit card spending over five years on lavish dinners, alcohol, and gifts for Gill’s corporate credit card staff.

The board has approved up to $ 75,000 for the independent forensic audit, with the aim of revealing where spending policies need improvement and restoring public confidence after the spending scandal.

BDO Canada LLP was engaged to perform the forensic audit, which is a deeper dive into spending and spending practices than a typical audit. During the months of investigation, it included interviews with employees and contractors.

Investigators conducted more than 20 interviews during the investigation. They also reviewed 45,000 emails and 12,000 documents in the regional district, and investigated hundreds of expense and compensation reports.

There were inconsistencies and incomplete information “everywhere” related to Gill’s expense invoices, according to Padgett.

There were times when different corporate credit cards were used at events instead of strictly Gill’s. During subsequent interviews, Padgett said regional district staff whose credit cards had been used would later say they did not attend the event.

BDO Canada LLP was originally due to present the final audit report in September, but the current Regional District Administrative Director Scott Hildebrand told iINFOnews.ca the scope of the investigation has widened, extending the time that it took to complete it.

More soon.


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