Millions of dollars charged to taxpayer-funded credit cards in Ontario are unaccounted for, the province's Auditor General Jim McCarter reported on Tuesday.
A number of Ontario's public sector workers, and managers overseeing expense accounts, are unable to account for the cash, he said.
"I'd have to say that we noticed examples across all broader public sector areas that we looked at," McCarter said after tabling his annual report.
"The number of questionable examples that we noted across the system were certainly of concern this year ... we have a lot of examples in here of what we would call really questionable expenditures."
Staff at Hydro One, the massive transmission utility, purchased $127-million worth of goods and services using corporate charge cards, but Mr. McCarter's annual report found few credit card slips or paperwork to justify those charges.
One senior executive at Hydro One had his secretary charge $50,000 to her charge card, even though most of the items purchased were for his use, while other staff wrote cheques on their charge card accounts totalling $41.2-million, Mr. McCarter found.
Staff at Ontario Power Generation failed to produce any receipts at all to support $6.5-million in expenditures. Managers at the government-owned power company also spent $300,000 for gifts, and $120,000 on gift certificates, for employees. The gifts included 40 leather jackets worth $8,000 each, given in recognition of five-year safety records.
"Contrary to corporate policy, none of these gifts were reported as taxable benefits," Mr. McCarter noted.
The auditor general also examined four school boards across the province, and found one teacher spent $52,000 over two years on a purchasing card, including $4,000 spent during school breaks on DVDs, eyeglasses and Christmas lights.
Another teacher at the same board charged $11,000 over two years, including $2,800 on candies, chocolates and household supplies. Yet another employee had 12 purchasing card expenditures totalling $6,000, and no documentation to support the claims.
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