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Councillors question if some fraud hotline tips waste of time

Calls to the city’s Fraud and Waste Hotline provided a number of leadsfor the 2009 auditor general’s report, but some councillors yesterdayquestioned the value of some of these tips.

Calls to the city’s Fraud and Waste Hotline provided a number of leads for the 2009 auditor general’s report, but some councillors yesterday questioned the value of some of these tips.

Hotline tips investigated by the AG ranged from the relatively minor, like a group of firefighters with fire trucks spotted playing soccer in a city park, to more substantial ones, like a former city employee billing the city for $255,776 through a consulting firm, in violation of the city’s re-employment policy.

Of 165 calls made to the hotline, 49 were made by city employees, 50 by members of the public and 66 by unknown callers.

Coun. Eli El-Chantiry raised concerns about malicious callers taking advantage of the hotline’s anonymity, and Coun. Diane Holmes objected to findings of $100,000 in inadequately documented spending at the Nepean Equestrian Park. She characterized a planned audit of the park’s operations as “intimidation.”

Auditor general Alain Lalonde said he was open to further instructions, including bringing only proven allegations before council, but waste can be hard to prove.

“Fraud is fairly easy to define … but when it comes to waste, it’s a little bit difficult in terms of what is wasteful,” he said.

 
 
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