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ARCHES audit findings turned over to Lethbridge police for investigation

ARCHES audit findings turned over to Lethbridge police for investigation
The audit findings into the ARCHES supervised consumption site have been turned over to Lethbridge police to see if criminal charges should be laid. Our Taz Dhaliwal has the details.

The findings of a recent audit into Lethbridge’s supervised consumption site are now in the hands of police.

Alberta’s Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has confirmed Lethbridge police have been asked to investigate whether any crimes have occurred.

“The Economic Crimes Unit is conducting the investigation, which is currently in the very early stages,” a police spokesperson told Global News on Thursday.

“We will not be doing any interviews or commenting on the matter further in order to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation.”

Read more: Government pulls grant funding from Lethbridge safe consumption site citing fund mismanagement

The audit findings, released July 16, alleged the site’s operator, ARCHES, mismanaged public funds.

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The report — completed by accounting firm Deloitte — found more than $1.6 million was unaccounted for due to missing documentation for expenses between 2017 and 2018 and that a senior executive’s compensation totalled $342,943 in one year, despite the grant agreement allowing for a salary of $80,000.

It also said the interest of ARCHES’ bank accounts — which the province said was $13,000 — was used to fund parties, staff retreats, entertainment and gift cards.

WATCH: (July 16, 2020) All government funding for Lethbridge’s supervised consumption site – managed by ARCHES – has been pulled after an audit revealed $1.6 million in missing funds, among other things. Eloise Therien has the details on the “funding misappropriation” and the mayor’s response.

Lethbridge supervised consumption site ‘seriously mismanaged taxpayer funds’: provincial audit
Lethbridge supervised consumption site ‘seriously mismanaged taxpayer funds’: provincial audit

Read more: MLA Shannon Phillips and others react to ARCHES losing provincial funding after government-ordered audit

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According to the Alberta government, ARCHES has received more than $14.4 million in government grants over the past two years.

When it released the audit findings last week, the UCP said it would no longer be providing funding for the ARCHES-run site.

It also said auditors were unable to review all allegations made or provide complete financial value for each allegation because of the state of the site’s records and related outstanding documents.

Global News has reached out to ARCHES for comment on the audit findings being turned over to the police but we have not heard back.

-With files from Eloise Therien, Global News and Kirby Bourne, 630 CHED