Mounties to probe ICBC after auto scam
Employees at the Insurance Corporation of B.C. blew the whistle on an automobile repair scam three times in the past two years -- but ICBC did nothing, the company admitted Thursday.
The RCMP also announced it will investigate the scam, and B.C.'s auditor-general is considering investigating the scandal as well.
"Concerns were raised and nothing appears to have been done," said Mike Farnworth, the NDP's justice critic. "That is what is particularly scandalous, because this could have been nipped in the bud sooner."
The Mounties' commercial crime section will look into revelations from the crown insurance company that its own employees bought vehicles fixed at an ICBC facility, and that nearly 100 vehicles were sold without proper documentation.
"The aim of this investigation is to ascertain whether or not any offences were committed," said Sgt. Susan Green.
The company faces its own internal probes and an external audit, but this is the first time the police have become involved.
Earlier this month, less than 24 hours after being appointed, B.C.'s acting solicitor-general apologized in the legislature for the scam that involved ICBC.
John Van Dongen had apologized on behalf of the government, the ICBC board, and ICBC workers not involved in the scheme, to anyone who may have purchased wrecked vehicles that had been rebuilt at an ICBC research facility in Burnaby.
"I indicated to the legislature that I would do whatever possible to return public confidence to the agency," Van Dongen told reporters.
"I was concerned," he said.
The scheme saw 98 'written-off vehicles' repaired at ICBC's shop sold without proper documentation. Some of the buyers were ICBC managers.
The company has promised it will no longer sell cars that have been written off and rebuilt, and will immediately report fraud, theft, and misappropriation of company policy.
ICBC board chairman T. Richard Turner told Van Dongen in a letter that the responsibility for internal investigation section of ICBC's special investigations unit has moved to the human resources and corporate law division.
That was after the internal investigation found that the company "lacked clear and specific procedures and training to govern the designation, repair and sale of vehicles."
Results of the ICBC probe will also be turned over to the RCMP.
An independent audit by PriceWaterhouseCoopers is being done as well.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jim Beatty