The RCMP’s Commercial Crimes Unit has finished a report on a fraud investigation at the Pembina Hills school division and forwarded the information to provincial Crown prosecutors, Barrhead RCMP’s Sgt. Bob Dodds says,
It will be up to the Crown prosecutor to decide whether or not charges are formally laid, he added.
“That’s typical in a case like this, where we gather all the information we’ve got and present it to them, then they’ll decide if there is grounds to approve charges,” Dodds said. “Their test is whether or not there’s a substantial likelihood of conviction.”
On Nov. 5, 2010, the Barrhead RCMP initiated a fraud investigation against an unnamed employee of the school division, which related to an expense account.
Two weeks earlier on Oct.25, former Supt. Richard Harvey left his post, two months earlier than scheduled. There has been no official confirmation whether or not the incidents are related.
School board representatives have said only that effective Oct. 25, Harvey is no longer an employee of the division.
Deputy Supt. Colleen Symyrozum-Watt would not comment on the fraud investigation, except to say that about 750 Pembina Hills employees have expense accounts.
As is the case with all RCMP investigations, a name will not be released in relation to the fraud investigation until charges are filed — a decision that now rests with the Crown prosecutors’ office.
“We’ll see what their decision is; I don’t have a time frame for that at all,” Dodds said.
He said he is satisfied with how the investigation has progressed, even if it has so far taken close to a year.
“You want it to move quickly, but you also want it to move thoroughly,” he said. “I think they’ve certainly done a thorough investigation, and that’s the most important thing — making sure the facts are correct.”