The Thompson-Nicola Regional District has forwarded to the RCMP information concerning potential financial irregularities at the regional district.
In a terse statement issued by the TNRD on Friday (March 26), the district said the information sent to the Mounties is independent of a financial review and forensic audit of its record it will have a third party conduct through a public request for proposals.
The TNRD said any applicable information obtained during the audit will be forwarded to the RCMP.
Thompson-Nicola Regional District chair Ken Gillis told KTW the matter is in the hands of the RCMP.
“It only means that we encountered information that we thought might be of interest to the RCMP and we forwarded it to them,” he said.
Asked to elaborate on what information was encountered, Gillis said he could not comment.
“The TNRD remains committed to ensuring full transparency and accountability throughout this process, and will report to the public with the results of the forensic audit,” the regional district statement reads. “However, the TNRD cannot make further comments regarding this RCMP matter or any other criminal investigation.”
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.
On March 11, the TNRD board approved an independent third-party financial review in expenditures over the past half-decade. It has issued a request for proposals, with a deadline of April 12 to submit.
The 33-page document notes the regional district is seeking details and suggestions from the proponents on work and deliverables as part of a proposal. The proponent will carry out a special financial review and provide forensic auditing services for the “purpose of identifying any areas of concern with respect to past expenditures and assessing the TNRD’s past financial administration and approval and control processes.”