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Entire Agriculture Financial Services board fired over expense claims

The provincial government has fired the entire board of directors of the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation after looking into the expense and procurement practices of its senior executive. The provincial Crown corporation is run by a board of directors from the private sector, and provides financial services for farmers and agribusinesses such as small business loans, crop insurance, and farm income disaster assistance.

According to a press release issued Monday by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the examination of the corporation began after an anonymous tip.

“The report’s findings point to a culture of entitlement in the last administration that Albertans firmly rejected in the election, a culture of entitlement that will not be tolerated by this government,” says Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Oneil Carlier.

Alberta’s Chief Internal Auditor found that some expenses related to travel, hospitality, and meals were not necessary for the business of the corporation. It was also found that senior executives accepted gifts, such as event tickets, meals and golf from vendors, and vendors covered costs related to AFSC corporate events. For more than half of the vendors examined, AFSC’s requirements for fair, open, competitive or transparent procurement processes were not met.

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The auditor recommended a further human resource investigation be conducted to consider appropriate disciplinary action against the implicated senior executives. It has also been handed over to law enforcement to see if additional actions are required. The board of directors has been replaced with a temporary board of senior employees of the government, who will be implementing the recommendations, with recruitment of a new board to begin immediately.

Written by James Wood

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