FREDERICTON (GNB) – In her latest report, Auditor General Kim MacPherson noted the provincial government has indicated it is working to implement recommendations from her March 2015 report on Financial Assistance to Atcon Holdings Inc. and Industry. Her report concluded the government provided loan guarantees to Atcon despite numerous recommendations to reject Atcon’s request for assistance, and then compounded the province’s risk of loss by giving up its first security position on Atcon’s assets in favour of Atcon’s bank. Following Atcon’s bankruptcy the province was left with close to $70 million in unrecovered funds.

“My hope is that 100 per cent of the recommendations will be implemented in order to reduce the risk of a similar situation in the future,” said MacPherson. “However, the implementation of our recommendations has not yet been verified by my office.”

Follow-up work will be performed in 2016 to ensure continued progress in implementing the recommendations.

However, the auditor general continues to receive numerous calls, letters and emails with respect to unanswered questions surrounding the Atcon file. Consequently, MacPherson informed the legislative assembly today of her intention to pursue further work; she will expend resources beyond her current budget.

“Upon completion, it is my intention to table an independent report responding to a number of the unanswered questions, including the most common question my office receives from concerned citizens on the Atcon file, “where did $70 million of taxpayers’ money go?”” said MacPherson.

MacPherson said that she is in the process of gaining access to the books and records of Atcon which are currently in the custody of the court-appointed receiver.

Information on Atcon is presented in chapter 1: Introductory Comments by the Auditor General and chapter 4: Follow-up on Recommendations from Prior Years’ Performance Audit Chapters from Volume IV. Volume III, also released today, presents matters arising from the annual financial audit of the province and Crown agencies. These volumes and one page summaries for select chapters are available online.