Internal audit of N.L. school sparks RCMP probe

A May 2017 internal audit of a school in the province has become part of an ongoing police investigation, CBC News has learned.

English School District says matter unrelated to other investigations

The head office of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District is located in St. John's. (CBC)

A May 2017 internal audit of a school in the province has become part of an ongoing police investigation, CBC News has learned.

The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District won't release the audit in question, because it "could reasonably be expected to interfere with or harm a law enforcement matter."

That's according to an access-to-information response to CBC News.

The NLESD won't say which school is involved, but did note that the Mounties are investigating.

The RCMP confirmed that the matter came to them last June — the month after the audit was completed.

No charges have been laid up to this point.

The district says it won't comment on matters that are subject to a police investigation, and declined interview requests.

But in an emailed statement, the board said it "has taken significant steps to ensure appropriate, consistent financial management practices," and established an internal audit function since the province-wide district formed in 2013.

The NLESD also said it has "made significant changes to our internal processes and implemented measures to strengthen the overall integrity of our financial processes."

District fraud allegations disclosed in 2016

The NLESD says this May 2017 audit is not related to other ongoing investigations.

Government and school board officials first publicly disclosed concerns about financial irregularities in early 2016.

Not long afterwards, the Mounties charged a school board manager on the Burin Peninsula with 15 counts of fraud under $5,000, two counts of fraud over $5,000, and one count of breach of trust by a public officer.

That matter is scheduled to return to court in Grand Bank later in May.

Meanwhile, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary also launched an investigation more than two years ago into allegations of fraud at the school district.

In March, the RNC told CBC News that investigation remained ongoing.

In addition to the police, the auditor general has also been examining district fraud allegations since 2016.

About the Author

Rob Antle

CBC News

Rob Antle is producer for CBC's investigative unit in Newfoundland and Labrador.