Monday, June 29, 2009

Gold, gold who's got the gold?

Missing mint gold not accounting error - Deloitte and Touche recommends review of security and potential activity by 'internal and/or external parties'
June 29, 2009

A third-party review has found that gold missing from the Royal Canadian Mint, revealed for the first time to be worth $15.3 million, is not the result of an accounting or reconciliation error. The RCMP is investigating. (Christopher Pike For The Toronto Star)

OTTAWA — The Royal Canadian Mint is being urged to examine its security procedures after a third-party review concluded that the disappearance of more than $15 million worth of gold from the Royal Canadian Mint does not appear to be the result of an accounting error.

The review is urging an "in-depth review of systems security and an assessment of potential inappropriate activity by both internal and/or external parties."

Mint officials have already called in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to assist in the investigation and today said they were cooperating "fully" with the police probe.

For months, officials at the mint have been searching for answers to reconcile their records with the actual physical stock of gold.

But the review, released this morning, only fuels further questions about where the"missing" stock of gold has gone though the Mint says it's still not clear whether any gold is actually missing from the property or whether it's just a paper mix-up.

That review, done by Deloitte and Touche, was to determine if the difference in gold was the result of an accounting or transaction recording error.

But in a statement today, the report concluded that "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 recordkeeping of transactions during the year."

For the first time, the mint has publicly stated the value of the missing precious metal — $15.3 million — and said today that it intends to file a claim under its insurance policy to recoup the value.

The review also suggested a technical review of operations to identify areas where gold may have been lost through refining process.

And it urges an accounting review of prior records to reconcile the differences though it concedes such a review may be difficult due to "the passage of time, the availability of supporting documentation and the turnover of Mint staff.

In a statement, Bennett emphasized that "the Mint will aggressively continue its efforts both internally and with outside experts to determine the sources of the unreconciled difference."


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