In a press announcement made yesterday, the Canadian Mint said that the independent audit failed to account for its reported missing gold, silver and other precious metals.
For the first time, the public learned the details that make up the story of the precious metals reported missing from the Mint. The Royal Canadian Mint released a report from its auditors, Deloitte and Touche, which revealed the value of the missing metals, previously estimated at around $10 million. The value is higher than that, the auditors said, $15.3 million, in fact. The federal government, represented by Minister of Transport, John Baird and Rob Merrifield, Minister of State (Transport) both took the Mint to task in a statement released yesterday, “The Mint's still unexplained loss of precious metals is inexcusable. The Mint will be held accountable.”
Human error is no longer seen as the reason for the missing metals, although it has not yet been completely ruled-out. The amount of missing gold was said to be 17,500 troy ounces, which the auditors valued at an estimated $15.3 million. Ministers John Baird and Rob Merrifield said that bonuses for Mint staff will continue to be withheld until the matter is resolved. The RCMP has not yet made their findings public.
In yesterday's press release, the Royal Canadian Mint reported that Deloitte and Touche, the auditors called in to assess the situation, said "the unaccounted for difference in gold does not appear to relate to an accounting error in the reconciliation process, an accounting error in the physical stock count schedules, or an accounting error in the record keeping of transactions during the year." The auditors also recommended that the Mint conduct a security review, an operations review and an accounting review of periods that were not within the scope of the current audit.
A statement posted on the Liberal Party of Canada website, attrributes Liberal critic of Crown Corporations, Joe Volpe, as saying, “The Harper government has lost more than just $15 million in precious gold bullion,” said Mr. Volpe. “They’ve lost precious time. Why did the government wait ten full weeks from the time they learned of the lost gold before calling in the RCMP?”
The gold was reported missing last fall, but the story only came to light earlier this year.