Hard to pull credit card expense scam in Kelowna, finance director says - InfoNews

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Hard to pull credit card expense scam in Kelowna, finance director says

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April 30, 2018 - 7:30 PM

KELOWNA - The type of credit card shenanigans alleged against two top city officials working for the City of Nanaimo would be hard to replicate here, Kelowna’s director of finance says.

“It makes me wonder about their internal controls,” Genelle Davidson says.

Nanaimo’s chief financial officer Victor Mema and city manager Tracy Samra are alleged to have worked together to cover up his use of a city-issued credit card for personal expenses, according to News Nanaimo.

Kelowna currently has 401 employees with city-issued credit cards. Davidson said those employees spent a total of $2.7 million in 2017.

The credit cards have a range of limits from $350 to $1,500. Anything more than $1,500 requires individual approval, Davidson added.

No personal expenses are allowed under the credit card use policy and those expenses that are allowed must be signed off each month by the employee’s immediate supervisor.

“They are reviewed and approved by the manager and then submitted to finance where it is again reviewed,” Davidson added.

In addition, the internal control branch conducts an annual audit each year of all credit card purchases, not only to ensure they were appropriate but that the processes have also been followed.

“We have quite a rigorous process. The authorization of who has a credit card is followed right through to the payment of the purchase to ensure they are for authorized city business,” Davidson said.

While there have been occasional “oops” moments from employees unsure of the process, Davidson said, but there has never been any misuse that would garner criminal charges.

The city will issue cards to any employee from the city manager down to an entry-level staff person, depending on their circumstances.

“It goes down to use and need,” Davidson added. “If there’s a use and need, it could be issued to an entry level position after is considered and signed off by their manager.”

It would take considerable collusion between a manager and employee to run such a scam, Davidson said.

“That’s where segregation of duty is so important so you’re not signing off on your own expenses,” she added.

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