Nfld. & Labrador

2 separate fraud investigations underway at NLESD, says CEO Darrin Pike

The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD) says there are two separate investigations into allegations of fraud currently underway.
Darrin Pike, CEO of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, says there are two separate fraud investigations currently happening within the school district. (CBC)

The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD) says there are two separate investigations into allegations of fraud currently underway.

Darrin Pike, NLESD CEO, told CBC News two separate employees — one of whom no longer works with the school district — are being investigated.

"As far as we can tell right now they're not linked, but they both involved improper or inappropriate use of district funds or district resources," said Pike.

Through the forensic audit and the internal auditor they'll see if there's anything else that's revealed through that process.- Darrin Pike, CEO of NLESD

On Tuesday, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development Dale Kirby said the provincial government has asked the auditor general to investigate allegations of fraud after receiving an anonymous tip.

That investigation is related to one of the two incidents being investigated by the NLESD, which dates back to late November and early January.

"We've been involved in this process for a number of months, and today obviously government announced they would involve the attorney general," Pike said Tuesday.

"From our perspective, we welcome that. We've also involved an external auditor to do a forensic audit on the file, as well."

Pike added the school district has been keeping the province informed throughout the process.

"When [the province] came to us first we would have said we already started something on this case and they then engaged the comptroller general to investigate, so obviously we've got some parallel processes occurring at the same time."

'Looking forward' to results of process

Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development Dale Kirby announced Tuesday the auditor general was called in after an internal review. (Gary Locke/CBC)

Pike said one of the two investigations was started when information was brought to them, and they prompted an internal audit into the allegations.

"The other was from an unrelated investigation where we drilled down on it and, like a lot of these things, you keep working on it and trying to figure out if there's something here," said Pike.

"There [were] reports to us from employees when we started that investigation, from there our internal auditor again and then our human resources team, and that one there is almost to conclusion."

We're really looking forward to what comes from that process.- Darrin Pike

As for how far back the alleged frauds took place, Pike said the current investigation is looking at the last two years. However, some information already indicated they may date back even further.

"Now that we've got both the auditor general and we have an external forensic audit being done, I guess they'll determine really how far this goes back and what else we can find out," he said.

"We're really looking forward to what comes from that process."

One of the employees no longer works with the department. Pike said the NLESD is "finalizing the process of determining the final state of affairs for that employee," which is expected within the next week.

Pike wouldn't provide specific details about the nature of the alleged frauds while the investigation is ongoing, but said he would provide an update when they could report details.

"Right now the investigation is focused on those two, but through the forensic audit and the internal auditor they'll see if there's anything else that's revealed through that process."

With files from Meghan McCabe

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