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.
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.