ArriveCan auditors mum on criminality claims concerning app contracts

During committee hearings on January 25, auditors did not respond when asked if they uncovered evidence of criminality in the ArriveCan app contracts. A special auditor general report will be tabled for February 12, according to the Commons public accounts committee.

ArriveCan auditors mum on criminality claims concerning app contracts
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The ArriveCan scandal will be the recipient of a special auditor general report expected for February 12, according to the Commons public accounts committee.

"Has the prime minister and his government been open and transparent by releasing all documentation as requested by your office?" asked Conservative MP Larry Brock. "We have received the responses we expected," testified Andrew Hayes, deputy auditor general.

The House of Commons in 2022 ordered the special audit by a 173 to 149 vote into the $54 million ArriveCan boondoggle where several IT firms pocketed millions in commissions.

During committee hearings on January 25, auditors did not respond when asked if they uncovered evidence of criminality, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.

"Did you uncover any issues with respect to criminality involving ArriveCan?" asked Brock. "At this point that would be a question the Auditor General would be best positioned to answer on February 12," testified Hayes.

When asked about the parties responsible, Hayes said: "The Auditor General will be best positioned to describe the findings of our audit on February 12."

"This report has not yet been tabled in Parliament," he added. "I am not in a position to discuss our findings."

Ritika Dutt and Amir Morv, founders of a Montreal-based software company called Botler, informed CBSA of their concerns in September 2021, and again in a more detailed report the following November. 

They accused senior government bureaucrats of holding improper contracting practices with three Ottawa-based companies on the project — GCStrategies, Dalian Enterprises and Coradix.

On ArriveCan, GCStrategies received the lion's share of the initial funding at $11.2 million to work on the app, while Coradix and Dalian received a combined $4.3 million.

At committee last October 20, GCStrategies confirmed they subcontracted the IT work to several companies, charging between a 15% and 30% commission rate. The firm billed Ottawa for the project between $1,000 to $1,500 per worker daily.

Conservative MP John Williamson, chair of the public accounts committee, informed his fellow MPs the committee would not be able to question auditors after February 12. 

The committee, at 11:15 a.m. that same day, will then open public hearings to question auditors on their ArriveCan report, reported Blacklock’s Reporter. "My job is to oversee the government," said Williamson.

"This is not an official committee meeting," he clarified. "This is something I am asked as chair of the public accounts committee to host."

This is a developing story.

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  • By Tamara Ugolini

PETITION: No ArriveCan App

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