The Thompson-Nicola Regional District has chosen a Vancouver-based company for its financial review, with the goal of starting work in early May.
The regional district said it selected BDO Canada LLP to carry out a forensic audit and financial review of the TNRD’s financial records and expenses. Six submissions were received following a request for proposals that was issued in mid-March and closed earlier this month.
“BDO has a highly qualified forensic accounting and investigations team with significant experience combined with strong knowledge of local government systems and practices,” a TNRD press release states. “The TNRD is looking forward to working with BDO, who will receive full co-operation from the TNRD to carry out their work.”
On Thursday (April 22) during a TNRD board meeting, regional district CAO Scott Hildebrand said transparency and timely communications were among top priorities and the regional district has started work on preparing a contract with BDO.
Asked for reasons why BDO Canada LLP was chosen, Hildebrand told KTW he could not disclose the reasons why until a contract is in place. BDO Canada has an office in Kamloops, but Hildebrand said the proposal came from the company’s Vancouver branch. Cost of the review was not disclosed, with the contract still in the works, but Hildebrand noted the cost is within the initial $50,000 to $75,000 estimate. The regional district expects the review to take three months, which would mean it would be completed in August.
The review comes as a result of a KTW investigation into spending at the TNRD from 2015 to January 2020 via the regional district-issued credit card of then-CAO Sukh Gill. Receipts from that time period show numerous charges for parties and to coffee shops, high-end restaurants, wineries, luxury hotels and liquor stores.
Gill left the regional district suddenly in February 2020 with a $500,000-plus payout and a legal agreement mandating his exit be called a “retirement.”
On March 26 of this year, the TNRD forwarded to the RCMP information concerning potential financial irregularities at the regional district. The information sent to the Mounties is independent of the financial review and forensic audit that BDO will undertake.