British Columbia

Surrey audit cites missing planning funds

Corruption at Surrey city hall could involve several development projects, according to court documents obtained by CBC News.

Corruption at Surrey city hall could involve several development projects, according to court documents obtained by CBC News.

An affidavit filed April 11 in the Supreme Court of B.C., based on findings from an audit by accounting firm KPMG, has turned up financial inconsistencies in six projects.

That's in addition to alleged anomalies in the single development project that resulted in fraud charges being laid last month against former city planner Akonyu Akolo.

The audit also says that a number of management-level staff currently or formerly working in Surrey's planning department had either signed or provided oversight on the six projects in which it found problems.

Mayor Dianne Watts told CBC in March that her information at the time was that the city could not locate about $650,000 in development-related fees.

No new criminal probe

The affidavit cites figures totalling about $118,000.

That implies, given Watts's estimate, that as much as $532,000 in development fees might remain to be accounted for.

Two unnamed developers, an unnamed corporation and a third unnamed individual have been added to a civil suit filed by Surrey against Akolo in an effort to recoup allegedly diverted fees..

But no developers or other current or former Surrey staff members are currently facing criminal charges, according to Surrey RCMP Cpl. Drew Grainger.

"We were in dialogue with the city again [Friday] morning on new information that 's been revealed," said Grainger. "What I can say is that no new criminal investigation has been launched at this time. But we are in constant dialogue with the city with the information they are providing to us."

With files from the CBC's Meera Bains, Paisley Woodward and Susana da Silva