Moments after releasing a scathing report on potential fraud at the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD), the Office of the Auditor General may have jeopardized criminal investigations relating to the investigations.
The Auditor General released a report on Wednesday outlining a spending scandal at the NLESD, with hundreds of thousands of dollars missing and potential for criminal charges against employees of the district.
Certain aspects of the report were redacted in order to help prevent information about on-going criminal investigations being conducted by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The printed and online versions of the report show large, black bars covering up the information to prevent its release.
However, by highlighting the black bars in the online version, the sensitive information was able to be accessed as seen – potentially impacting the criminal investigations into wrongdoing at the NLESD.
Auditor General Julia Mullaley says the privacy breach was caught within a half hour and the report taken down from online.
“We took all the steps we felt was necessary to redact the information that we felt was important to redact for the purposes of the investigation,” she said.
“Obviously, there was some error involved with that.”
In an email, RNC spokesperson Constable Geoff Higdon says the RNC does not believe the situation will jeopardize any of the on-going investigations.
The report has since been taken down, with hopes of getting it back online without the sensitive information as soon as possible.
Mullaley says if anyone has the report, please don’t share any of the redacted information.
“If anybody has access to the report, the whole intent behind it was not to compromise the investigation. I think it’s incumbent on anybody who has the report to not share it and not use it,” said Mullaley.
Mullaley says her office will take every precaution to ensure such a situation does not happen again.