The Board of Directors of the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation has been dismissed after an examination into senior executives’ expense and procurement practices.
The examination, spurred by an anonymous tip, uncovered problems with senior executives’ expenses and the corporation’s procurement practices according to Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.
"Unreasonable expenses for travel, meals and entertainment, acceptance of gifts, competitive bid processes compromised, the auditor's report is a difficult and unsettling read," he says.
Some expenses related to travel, meals and hospitality were not necessary for AFSC’s business, and expenses were generally not properly authorized; senior executives accepted gifts, such as event tickets, meals and golf from vendors, and vendors covered costs related to AFSC corporate events;
"Between January 2013 and December 2015 the senior executives incurred aircraft and hotel costs in excess of $170,000," Carlier says. "Some of the trips included significant portions of time spent on activities such as golf and entertainment. "We noted approximately 30 instances in 2014 and 2015 where the president and managing director, the vice president, innovation and product development charged a per diem for a meal when a meal had been provided by a broker."
Carlier says loans made by the corporation have been audited with no irregularities showing up there.
The board has been replaced with an interim board comprised of senior Government of Alberta employees who will implement the recommendations of the auditor and strengthen the governance of the corporation.