Documents released by government to Province reporter Sam Cooper, leave more questions than answers.

It’s appalling that I say I am not entirely surprised by this story: http://www.canada.com/story.html?id=02c4d164-e438-4fd4-890e-9ecf90685fa5

 In sophisticated frauds, a number of provincial government workers have teamed up with dodgy businesses and contractors to steal from you, the taxpayer.

 

The schemes — including an apparent rogue network of “public servants” bilking the health care system, and frauds aimed at autism, adoption, and childcare funding pools — are revealed in documents obtained by The Province through freedom of information.

 

The documents tell the story of 10 scam probes completed between July and October 2013, and they come from B.C.’s special investigative unit of the comptroller general, a team tasked with protecting against insider theft of taxpayer funds.

~snip~

The government has so heavily obscured these files, Bateman said, that it is impossible to know how much money was stolen in these cases, how many public servants are guilty, and what consequences they face.

In The Province’s estimation, more than 20 public servants are implicated in these schemes, and not a single identity is revealed.

“I’m astonished how many of these staffers seem to still be working for the government,” Bateman said. “And there is no reason why government should not release the amount of money involved in each of these cases.”

First of all, before anyone starts jumping on government employees, there are rotten apples in every barrel and that applies to politicians as well as employees.

But this story leaves me and no doubt others, with more questions than answers, thanks to the secrecy of the BC government – which if you recall, Christy Clark said she was going to make’ the most open and transparent government in history!

Why can’t the public know exactly how much money was stolen, how many people were involved and what happened to them? It’s alarming to think that any of them would still be working in government at any level. Why the secrecy?

And the mention of purchase card spending? That’s always one to watch, as I first reported it here and  here in 2012 , even asking who verifies that the money being spent is truly for government use?It appeared to me then, that it was a sloppy system with few checks or balances, which also may be part of the issue in Sam’s story.

Even back in 2012, Ministry of Forests had second highest spending on purchase cards, and some transaction being quit dubious at  that.

It’s a slap in the face of British Columbians, and I can’t wait for the return of the legislature – hopefully the opposition will hammer them on this one.

It’s bad enough that the government has taken the ‘Free’ out of freedom of information- (Bob Mackin has written extensively about this), when you do fork over the $$ to get your request started( you have to put down a deposit if you don’t want to pay in full right away), more often than not you end up with a stack of paper where most of the info is blacked out.

Essentially, you  might end up paying for nothing, making it a gamble whether or not you want to invest those funds in the first place. And sadly, I suspect that’s exactly what they want.

Props to Sam Cooper for this great story. I recommend a full read and share widely.

As well, ‘recovering journalist’ Rod Mickleburgh has a bit of a tease up today – check out his first post in a series covering the Top 1o list of BC Government clangers.

I’m sorting through the info on the new mystery post, which requires a very diligent presentation. Again, more questions than answers on that one, but I am hoping that it will generate new information and tips. Look for that tomorrow.

money

 

 

12 thoughts on “Documents released by government to Province reporter Sam Cooper, leave more questions than answers.

  1. e.a. f.

    One could say the lieberals aren’t even smart enough to use this to their advantage. had they simply arrested those in questions and followed up with trials, it might have sent a message. However, governments frequently just want to cover these things up, thinking it makes them look bad. they look worse when they don’t deal with the issues of theft.

    It might be said this is another version of trickle down economics. In the grand scheme of things the amounts may not be that large. however, there is a principal involved. there is all so the issue of a lack of oversight regarding finances in the provincial government. They ought to have a good look at how to prevent this type of thing. that of course would require additional staff and so in the end, they decide to put up with some theft to save money on hiring staff. Some day that method of management will back fire big time.

    its just another example of how white collar crime is treated differently from other types of crime.

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  2. Merv Adey

    Curt, we should be told that. We should also be told how much money was involved, how many are still employed by us, and which contractors are still doing business with our government after detection of these schemes. There’s lots that wouldn’t fall under any FOI issue that I know about, but perhaps wiser heads can explain the huge gaps in this story.

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  3. Evil Eye

    When you have a corrupt government, do not be surprised that your employees are also corrupt.

    The “Eye” has been around politics most of his life (even a had a relative who was a Minister in both the Pearson and Trudeau governments) and I can say the taint of corruption has never been so rife as it is today.

    Our so called democratic system (democracy for one day every 4 years) we elect a dictator who has complete control of the government and as the old adage proclaims, ” power corrupts and absolute power corrupt absolutely”, so does our democracy.

    When Premiers take personal gifts of cash, holidays, hunting knifes, sundecks, jobs overseas, etc.,etc., the demonstrate not just a lack of discretion, but a lack of moral fibre. This lack of moral fibre is easily translated into corruption and when the boss is corrupt, the minions will be equally so.

    Government is an evil; it is only the thoughtlessness and vices of men that make it a necessary evil. When all men are good and wise, government will of itself decay.
    Percy Bysshe Shelley

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  4. Julie

    This entire country is corrupt to the bare bones. BC is a cesspool of corruption, right from Campbell’s reign of terror. Campbell thieved and sold everything out of BC, he got his hands on. Campbell twice lied and cheated to win his elections too.

    Not only have the BC citizens had to cope with the corrupt BC Liberals? We have to cope with Harper and his Cons corruption as well. Christy Clark refuses to call Legislature. She prorogued Legislature nearly the same time, Harper prorogued Parliament.

    Canada needs a damned good purge right with Harper and down into, every nook and cranny of all governments in this country.

    All I can say is, this is of no surprise to me.

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  5. e.a. f.

    everyone needs to remember it was the voters of Canada who gave the lieberals and the federal cons their majorities. they bought the story of jobs and a strong economy. So one could say it was greed on the part of the voters also. No where did either the cons or the provincial lieberals ever get around to really addressing child poverty, the lack of decent care for seniors, increasing pensions for the disabled, etc. So if these political parties didn’t mention those on limited incomes needs, why did they think these political parties would care about them>? Folks lets get real here. Neither the provincial lieberals or federal cons have done much of anything in their previous administrations to help citizens who needed it, so now that the rest of us are being hit by their policies, what makes you think they’d care about you. They don’t. So if you can’t find a political party to care about you and societies needs, perhaps some of you ought to give serious thought to running as independants.

    As the current group of politicians have proven over and over again, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to hold office., the pension plan is great, salary adequate, perks wonderful, etc. if you buy a lottery ticket, think about running for political office as an independant. hope springs enternal.

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  6. Laila

    Great comment and you are absolutely correct.

    If you don’t vote, don’t complain – you are part of the problem. Nothing is going to change with only half the population or less turning out to vote. We have a nation of people who are either not inspired enough by any party or candidate to vote, or don’t care, or are fine with the way things are.

    It it were any different, we wouldn’t have the parties we do in power municipally, provincially or federally.

    Bit of a delay in the coming pos – something needed a little bit more research.

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  7. The RCMP are still investigating the Senate, thieving, all names are made public, amount of monies involved, Auditors have done the crunching, perks collected too illegally. So where’s the RCMP at the BC Legislature or do they only get involved when a diffused bomb threat is present. Where’s the Justice Minister in all of this? Theft is Theft! and how far does the rot go?

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