A criminal investigation into potential financial wrongdoings at the Thompson-Nicola Regional District has been forwarded to a federal police unit that specializes in such probes.
On March 23, the TNRD forwarded to the Kamloops RCMP information concerning potential financial irregularities at the regional district.
“Following an assessment of the information presented, the Kamloops RCMP was able to establish a better understanding of the scope of that investigation and conduct internal consultations surrounding the most appropriate and timely police response in terms of resourcing and expertise,” Kamloops RCMP Staff Sgt.. Simon Pillay said.
As a result of that assessment, the case has been assigned to the Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC) Financial Integrity Sensitive Investigations Unit.
“FSOC will be the lead investigative unit for this case and Kamloops RCMP will assist them as needed. FSOC will bring the expertise and resources necessary to ensure a thorough investigation with public interest in mind,” Pillay said.
B.C.’s federal policing media co-ordinator Sgt. Kris Clark said he could not disclose the focus of the investigation.
“No, it’s very early,” Clark told KTW. “Basically, the investigation just transferred over, so there’s really nothing that I can share publicly at this particular point.”
Asked how long the investigation might take, Clark said it is difficult to say.
“Financial investigations typically take quite a long time, depending on the circumstances,” he said. “I wouldn’t be able to put a ballpark on it. I know that some of the files that federal serious and organized crime, which financial integrity is a part of, often take years, unfortunately. It’s a long, complex process.”
Clark said following consultation, it was determined the TNRD investigation fit the federal policing mandate. Federal policing covers a large gamut of areas, Clark explained, including financial integrity.
“We’re just able to take on investigations that detachments sometimes can’t, simply through having available resources and expertise,” he said.The TNRD’s decision to send the information to police for a possible criminal investigation comes on the heels of a KTW investigation into spending at the regional district between 2015 and 2020, during which a TNRD-issued credit card showed numerous charges for parties and to coffee shops, high-end restaurants, wineries, luxury hotels and liquor stores.
The KTW stories followed an article in 2018 that detailed hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime billed by regional district to the provincial government in connection to the floods and wildfires of 2017. In total, the TNRD billed Victoria $582,000 in overtime costs. The declared state of emergency was in place for 10 weeks.