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W, n , 


we're asking for is that that whole process is coordinated and brought together, and that would help us streamline our planning and audit process.

b. Ralston (Chair): i see mr. newton making notes rather furiously.

  • S.

    Newton: absolutely.

  • K.

    Corrigan: can i just follow up on that? i just

want to clarify. mr. newton, from your answer, were you suggesting that the provision of the summary of government's fraud-related investigations would be in compliance with the requirement of section 35 of the act?

S. Newton: at's the only report, given my experi- ence so far, that i've been involved with preparing to be able to get to the auditor general. i'm not aware of a separate report going, and so my assumption was that that's what we were providing to meet that requirement.

clearly, it isn't, from what i hear. So we will need to get that information to the auditor in a timely fashion to be able to meet the requirements for planning for the audit.

R. Sultan: i would commend the auditor general for bringing this topic to the table. it's interesting but a bit awkward for all of us to discuss in the sense that i think government, any organization, really doesn't want to have its dirty linen washed in public.

i'm afraid the reality is that years of being pounded, erosion of my naivety, have forced me to conclude that we've got an awful lot of hanky-panky, the, fraud and defalcation out there in the world. i wouldn't say that it's any more common in the public sector or the private sector. i observe equal incidence in all sectors.

  • ese estimates of the incidence of fraud and the dol-

lar amounts involved are interesting, as you pointed out. Whether it's social benet fraud at 0.5 percent in new Zealand, 0.6 percent in the u.K. — which more or less

  • ts my impression of those two societies — or 7 percent

by the fraud detectors in society who, of course, have an intrinsic interest in exaggerating it, we're talking about serious money.

for example, to choose the number 1 percent across the board in our government, we're talking a $400 mil- lion annual bill. Well, cut it by a multiple of four; we're still talking a lot of money.

a lot of it, of course, would be social-, health- or insurance benetrelated, and the newspapers are full of icBc frauds from time to time. my wife worked in the ontario WcB arena and reported to me the crazy games being played in order to get what we call WorkSafe benets. of course, the fact that we seem to have a rather large



multiple of carecards in circulation compared to the population is cause for us to wonder what in the heck is going on.

  • ere is a lot of slippage in the system. how much of

it is just sloppiness or people trying to make their way in the world under tough circumstances as opposed to outright criminal conspiracy is partly a matter of judgment.

i must also confess that i nd the comptroller gen- eral's response a little bit dident in the sense that i compare, again harkening and bear with me my previous bank experience. We had the bank inspect- ors, the dreaded strike team that would pounce on unsuspecting branches at random, lock the doors and go through the books and nd, as the auditor general has reported, that very diligent accountant who never seemed to take a vacation, except occasionally to y her friends to Paris — and explained it all by having had a rich aunt die recently.

[1425] Bankers, when they get together and trade war stories in the evening, are lled with these stories of employees, senior and not so senior, who managed to squirrel away money for their own account because there's so much money owing through the bank- ing system. e temptations are great. So they have a specialized unit just going aer this stu, and they recognize the suspects that mr. doyle's prole has outlined.

i don't sense that there is any really diligent eort

  • shall we say, a single-purpose, dedicated team

working on this stuon the part of the government. i see the words in his report here, page 55: "government does not currently have an overarching fraud risk man- agement strategy." ey're working on a strategy. ey'll prepare it at some point. "fraud has not been identied as a key risk in the internal audit and advisory services corporate risk assessment."

  • en we go over to page 58. We nd that when the

internal audit people do go out, they do not always get very good cooperation on the part of ministry sta, with some bureaucratic response saying: "Well, it's our re- sponsibility to report fraud, so please don't come and look for any. at's our job."

  • ese are rather ominous signals that there perhaps is

more cause for further investigation than we are natur- ally inclined to admit, so my question to the comptroller general is: have you ever considered setting up a special investigative unit dedicated to fraud, pure and simple, on a roving basis, with a mandate to go anywhere and look at anything?

S. Newton: We currently, within the internal audit and advisory services department, have four indi- viduals who are an investigative unit. currently they are responding to information that we received that

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