Monday, March 28, 2011

Two Years After Gold-Loss Scandal, Director Of Royal Canadian Mint Reappointed

Back in 2009, the Royal Canadian Mint's then-record profits were blotted out by a scandal where $15.3 million' worth of gold went missing. Later revealed to have been caused by an accounting blunder, causing the Mint having to book a huge loss as the result of the mistake, the Government of Canada called in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to help track down the gold.

That embarrassment didn't stop the Governnment of Canada from recently reappointing the director in charge back then, Ian E. Bennett. His reappointment was one of the last acts of the government before Parliament was dissolved and the Canadian election got rolling. Back in '09,
[Then-Minister of State for Transport John E.] Merrifield and then-transport minister John Baird soon issued a joint statement calling the loss “inexcusable” and promising the mint would be “held accountable.”

The government also ordered the mint to withhold executive bonuses until the matter was resolved. A series of special audits later “fully accounted” for the missing 17,500 troy ounces of gold, though not all of it was actually recovered.

Sloppy bookkeeping dating back to 2005 was the chief culprit. As well, about $3 million worth of the precious metal was mistakenly sold at a fraction of its value to U.S. refinery slag recyclers. “Despite the explanations, I am disappointed that errors have occurred,” Merrifield said at the time.
That blunder ended up knocking $10 million off the Mint's profits for the year.

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