College lost $189,000 in alleged fraud, auditor general reports
A former director of Calgary's Bow Valley College was dismissed in November following allegations that about $189,000 of college money was diverted to businesses operated or controlled directly or indirectly by him, the Alberta auditor general said Monday.
The former director of international education and workplace training, who is not named in the report, was dismissed last November and is being investigated by police, according to a report tabled in the Alberta Legislature Monday from Auditor General Fred Dunn.
The allegations are contained in a statement of claim filed with the Court Queen's Bench in Calgary, the report says.
The college asked the auditor general to review its practices in light of the allegations.
In his investigation, the auditor general found weak internal controls allowed the individual allegedly to invoice the college for commission payments for international students when no commissions were owing and then divert the fees to the companies he controlled.
The auditor general found the college's policy enables directors and deans to initiate and approve contracts worth up to $50,000 without someone else reviewing them, a practice the college needs to change, Dunn found.
Review of several Alberta colleges, institutes
The report looked at the internal financial controls at a number of Alberta colleges and technical institutes.
The most recommendations were directed at Bow Valley College and Edmonton's Grant MacEwan College.
Four of the 22 recommendations in the report relate to Grant MacEwan. According to the report, the college has "an ineffective control environment for an institution of its size," and needs to fix its staffing, systems information issues and internal control weaknesses.
"Until it resolves these issues, the college continues to be unnecessarily exposed to risks of fraud and error," the report said.
Decentralized IT approach
The report also examined two computer "penetration" attempts at the province's Department of Transportation, breaches the auditor general determined is related to Alberta's decentralized approach to managing information technology.
In one case, small programs "of unknown origin" were found on a web server, which would allow other computer code to be run. In the second case, malicious software was found on an important server.
Alberta's decentralized approach to IT was criticized in Dunn's last report in October, when he found the province's practice of allowing each department to take care of its own computer security put Albertans' personal information at risk.