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City manager Owen Tobert says the conclusions reached by consultants at the accounting firm Deloitte and Touche should reassure Calgarians that the city’s procurement process not corrupt. ((City of Calgary))

The city's top bureaucrat says a report released on Wednesday by an outside auditor should put to rest concerns that municipal contracts were being improperly awarded.

According to the report prepared by consultants at the firm Deloitte and Touche LLP, the city's procurement procedures are generally working well, and there is no evidence of fraud.

"I am satisfied this report should bring closure to any outstanding concerns, subject to Council's acceptance of the report," city manager Owen Tobert said in a written release.

Last spring then-city auditor Tracy McTaggart tabled an audit on the city's procurement practices that found problems — such as missing documentation — in how the city awarded contracts for projects and suppliers between 2005 and 2009.

McTaggart said she could "pretty much guarantee there is some procurement fraud going on."

While she later clarified that her audit found no evidence of fraud, city manager Owen Tobert discredited McTaggart's report in front of city council, saying the audit was incomplete and contained several key errors. McTaggart was later dismissed.

Deloitte's accountants did discover a few instances of possible impropriety, but when they dug deeper they found the issues had been adequately handled, the report said.

Room for improvement

The firm made several observations about the city's procurement policies and recommendations for improving them.

There were numerous cases of "incomplete compliance" with existing rules, the report said. Deloitte suggested the city conduct a review to improve the situation.

Deloitte's audit also said "… clear, documented roles and responsibility for handling third party complaints or whistleblower allegations do not appear to be clearly delineated."

The firm said the city should work to eliminate any overlapping roles or gaps in responsibility in such circumstances.

"Taxpayers should be reassured that, amongst other things, it has been concluded that they have received full value for the $747 million in the contracts under review. No money related to the contracts under investigation has gone missing," Tobert said.

Deloitte's conclusions will be discussed at council on Feb. 14.