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With audit done at TNRD, criminal probe remains

The RCMP’s investigation of activities at the TNRD may be completed in mid-January

By Jessica Wallace / Kamloops This Week

A forensic audit revealed a “culture of inappropriate spending” at the Thompson-Nicola Regional District under former CAO Sukh Gill, but the question remains whether anything that occurred broke the law.

Following a presentation from BDO Canada to the TNRD board at its final meeting of the year in mid-December, TNRD chair Ken Gillis was asked if he expects the RCMP to find evidence of fraud as a result of the findings.

While the TNRD board hired BDO Canada to conduct the forensic audit as a result of a KTW investigation into spending at the regional district, the RCMP launched a criminal probe, which is ongoing.

“I don’t know that I’m expecting that they will,” Gillis said.

“I suspect that there may be suggestions along those lines, but I doubt very much that they’re going to come up with something that would meet the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

“There’s, as I say, you saw the report [the report has not yet been released to the media or public, but a presentation was made by the auditor on report findings] there’s suggestions of impropriety, but I don’t see anything that amounts to criminality.”

The audit found:

• frequent and excessive level of spending on meals and entertainment;

• improper splitting of expenses;

• purchase and distribution of gift cards and time of a personal nature and claim reimbursement for expenses;

• reimbursement of expenses with no approvals;

• writing on receipts the names of people who were not present at dinners, lunches or other events;

• Gill claimed per diem expenses and charged meal expenses on personal days during a 2019 government trip to Uji, Japan;

• “unique” expenses as part of cost overruns tied to large contracts.

Kamloops This Week has heard from multiple sources allegations of materials from TNRD renovations being used in non-TNRD-related buildings.

This newspaper has also heard the audit findings included information linked to the IndoCan Links golf tournament, though that did not come up in the BDO Canada presentation.

The report is expected to be released in the new year.

The police investigation is expected to wrap up in the new year, perhaps as early as mid-January.

TNRD CAO Scott Hildebrand said the regional district cannot speak for the RCMP.

RCMP Sgt. Kris Clark, who is the media relations officer for federal serious and organized crime, said he could not comment on when the investigation would be completed, but confirmed the investigation remains “ongoing.”

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