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Auditor General report outlines school board spending 'fraud'

Auditor General Julia Mullaley speaks to media on Wednesday morning about a special report on the Management of the Procurement of Goods and Services at the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD).
Auditor General Julia Mullaley speaks to media on Wednesday morning about a special report on the Management of the Procurement of Goods and Services at the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD). - Joe Gibbons

A lack of what is being called pervasive non-compliance was outlined in a report released Wednesday morning by Julia Mullaley, the Auditor General of Newfoundland and Labrador.

It was found that the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD) mismanaged the procurement of goods and services from July 2011-16.

The main focus of the report centered on the facilities branch of the Eastern region of the NLESD.

“The lack of oversight of NLESD’s control environment and lack of action over the years to address known internal control deficiencies and disregard of policies, significantly increased the risk of errors, unauthorized actions, unethical behaviour and fraud,” Mullaley said.

The report highlights pervasive non-compliance with NLESD procurement policies and the Public Tender Act.

The report said there was a lack of an open and transparent procurement process, including in the selection of vendors and establishment of fair and reasonable prices, or best value for public goods and services.

Significant deficiencies in internal controls were identified and a number of known indicators of unethical behaviours and/or possible fraud were highlighted.

The report further noted the board of trustees and senior management had not exercised the required oversight over NLESD’s internal control environment.

This report was completed in response to government’s request to the Auditor General in April 2016.

The Telegram’s David Maher attended the news conference and will be completing a full analysis of the outcome of the auditor general’s report later today.

The full report is available on the Office of the Auditor General website at www.ag.gov.nl.ca/ag/allReports.htm.

telegram@thetelegram.com

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