TNRD audit delayed due to expanded scope of investigation | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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TNRD audit delayed due to expanded scope of investigation

A forensic audit into Thompson Nicola Regional District spending began in May 2021, and the final report is now expected on Dec. 13, 2021.
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A final report of a forensic audit studying spending habits at the Thompson Nicola Regional District has been delayed again.

Chief administrative officer Scott Hildebrand said it's because the audit reached "phase two" in which the investigators expanded their research from simply expense practices to procurement and contract practices.

He said the expanded scope of the study was based on the recommendation of BDO Canada LLP, the accounting firm contracted to investigate regional district expenses.

"It's unfortunate, but we want to ensure things were done with due diligence," Hildebrand said.

In September, board chair Ken Gillis told iNFOnews.ca that the report was delayed at least a month, despite expectations that it would be presented to the board on Sept. 23.

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Although the investigation was expanded to include procurement practices, the five year scope initially set forth has not changed.

The decision from the regional district board to audit their own expenses followed a year-long investigation and series published by Kamloops This Week.

The investigation uncovered $500,000 of taxpayer spending for discretionary dinners and gifts for staff.

RCMP have also launched a fraud investigation at the regional district, which Hildebrand said they are cooperating with and providing assistance when requested.

READ MORE: Tracking taxpayer dollars spent on expenses by Kelowna council harder than you'd think

He added that the police investigation is "entirely separate" from the ongoing forensic audit.

Some of the delay could also be blamed on the fact that much of the regional district's records are paper-based, according to Hildebrand.

He said with COVID-19 health restrictions, BDO investigators could not always come to the regional district offices to uncover files, and instead required regional district staff to scan and send documents to auditors.

Hildebrand now expects BDO to have their final report completed and presented to the regional district board on Dec. 13.

READ MORE: JONESIE: In defence of reporting from unnamed sources


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