The RCMP have officially been handed the file for the former Cumberland Regional Development Authority.
HALIFAX – The RCMP is now investigating a complaint from the provincial Economic and Rural Development Department regarding the findings of the forensic examination of the now closed Cumberland Regional Development Association.
“There’s not much we can say about it at this point other than to confirm that on July 8, the RCMP received a complaint from the Nova Scotia Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism on the findings from the forensic examination of the former Cumberland development association,” Cpl. Scott MacRae said Monday. “The matter is under investigation so we cannot provide additional comment at this time.”
Down the road, MacRae said, the RCMP may be able to speak about the investigation, but he added right now it’s in its preliminary stages and there isn’t much to comment on.
“It’s an active investigation and these types of investigations take a bit of time and are done when the investigators have completed a thorough investigation,” he said. “We often get asked how long investigations like this take and I can say is they take considerable time to complete.”
MacRae said the investigation will use the forensic examination released last week by PricewaterhouseCoopers, but the direction of the investigation will be up to the officers assigned to the case.
The investigators, he said, will look at all the facts that are available, conduct interviews and review whatever documents or financial records that are available.
He stressed there’s a long way to go before any decisions on charges are made.
Last week, the Halifax auditors released their findings into the financial activities of the Cumberland Regional Development Authority.
The auditor’s investigation found 24 false invoices and eight examples of questionable invoices totaling $790,000 over a four-year period. That information helped CRDA secure $256,000 in provincial funding.
The scheme was used to circumvent provincial funding rules when a project wasn’t completed during a certain year.
The auditors found gaps in controls and governance at CRDA and the Department of Economic Development Tourism during the period examined.
The 700-page report also contains recommendations on making sure what happened at CRDA isn’t repeated as the province moves from regional development authorities to regional enterprise networks.
The forensic examination was one of the recommendations of a report on the regional development authority from the Office of the Ombudsman in August 2012. Dwight Bishop investigated CRDA after receiving complaints from two former employees who claimed they were dismissed after disclosing concerns to the board about alleged wrongdoings that were taking place.