An audit of former Royal Canadian Mint head David Dingwall's expenses concludes that the former Liberal cabinet minister did not spend money improperly during his tenure.
"I am very pleased that as a result of this report, which was released today, the issues regarding my expenses can be finally closed, and the Royal Canadian Mint may continue with its business undisrupted,"Mr. Dingwall said.
The report concluded that nearly all of the $740,000 in expenditures incurred by Mr. Dingwall during his 30-month tenure was legitimate for business travel and business related expenses.
It found that of his claims, However, Mr. Dingwall should have reimbursed $2,570.66 to the Royal Canadian Mint.
"In addition, $4,198.35 was deemed recoverable due to a clerical payroll error and car insurance prepayments issued by the RCM," the audit, released Wednesday, said.
The audit found that the "tone of the travel and hospitality policies were consistent with the Mint's objective to improve its financial performance."
Mr. Dingwall's expenses while he was head of the Crown corporation were heavily criticized by the opposition as being extravagant.
On Wednesday, two reviews were released. The first, by PricewaterhouseCoopers, was to determine the legitimacy of the expenses of the Mint president from March 24, 2003 to September 28, 2005.
The second, conducted by by Peter Dey of the legal firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, looked at "the provisions of the corporate governance systems of the Royal Canadian Mint relating to the reimbursement of expenses incurred by the office of the CEO."
Mr. Dey found that the governance process followed by the Mint with respect to the approval of the head's expenses was sufficient to ensure that the Corporation's funds were "expended in a manner consistent with the Mint's policy."
Opposition Leader Stephen Harper sharply criticized the two reports, saying that while Mr. Dingwall did have legitimate expenses, "he went out there and used no political judgment in his exercise, in his use of public money and I think that's what the public angry about."
Revenue Minister John McCallum, who is responsible for the Royal Canadian Mint, told reporters in Ottawa Tuesday after the audit came out that the vast majority of Mr. Dingwall's expenses were "according to the rules. To the extent they were not, the government will recover that money from Mr. Dingwall," the Revenue Minister said.
Tory MP Brian Pallister, whose Access to Information request led to the revelations of Mr. Dingwall's spending during his time at the Mint, said that he wasn't bothered by Mr. Dingwall's threat to sue him. During a press conference he held in Ottawa, he said it is within Mr. Dingwall's right to sue, but that the facts speak for themselves.
Later, in the House of Commons, Mr. Pallister said that the audit shows a greater problem in government.
"What today's audit reveals is one thing and one thing only: The Prime Minister has no control over crony spending in his government. If the Prime Minister really believes David Dingwall's spending is legitimate, I invite him to finally come out of hiding, stand up and say so."