CRDA audit taking longer than planned

Darrell Cole
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Due to complexity of examination

The forensic examination into Cumberland County’s former development agency is taking much longer than expected.

The forensic examination of the former Cumberland development authority is taking much longer than expected, says an official with Economic and Rural Development.

AMHERST – The forensic examination into Cumberland County’s former development agency is taking much longer than expected.

A spokesperson with the Economic and Rural Development Department confirmed the consultant hired by the province to examine the Cumberland Regional Development Association has not completed its examination.

“PriceWaterhouse Coopers has identified some solicitor-client privilege issues that need to be carefully considered. They are the experts, and it’s important they take the time they need to do the due diligence required to completed their work,” Gary Andrea said in an email to the Amherst News.

The Halifax firm was hired earlier this year to review the financial management of the development authority that closed its doors in June as part of a provincial plan to replace regional development authorities with new regional enterprise networks.

When the company was hired in January, then minister Percy Paris said its report would be completed in the summer with the results made public.

Andrea said the company has requested more time from the province because of the complexity of the review. No new timeline has been set for its completion.

PriceWaterhouse Coopers was hired after provincial ombudsman Dwight Bishop found questionable accounting practices and a lack of oversight at CRDA. He called for a forensic audit with the recommendation that the results be turned over to police if they were the same as his.

In his report, Bishop said invoices were created and used to obtain funds from the province without direct expenditures. Those actions, he said, undermined the accountability process and brought into question matters of credibility and integrity.

Earlier this week, Amherst passed a motion to rescind its members from the CRDA board of directors. The town is also asking the province to take over the wind up of the RDA.

Each of the county’s five municipal units its rescinding its board appointments.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Cumberland Regional Development Association, Rural Development Department, Amherst News

Geographic location: Cumberland County, Halifax

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