29 April 2010

Fortunately…the Qatar Version

Fortunately for the employees of College of the North Atlantic – Qatar campus -   education minister Darin King always says exactly what he means:

"It's not their issue or their fault as to why the college made an error and entered into an agreement that they ought not to have. So we'll honour the contracts," King said.

fortunately So they won’t have to pay back any money they received as a result of  unspecified errors, right?

Well, no.  Apparently, the minister doesn’t have enough information yet to determine what happened.  As a result, it’s too soon to know if the money will be written off.

Unfortunately for those employees, Darin King said exactly what he meant on Thursday, too:

I could easily do, Mr. Speaker, what the Leader of the NDP wanted me to do three or four days ago; washed my hands of it, abdicate my responsibility, walk away, pretend it never happened, write-off the $5 million and perhaps do as my colleague the Minister of Tourism would say, add it to the NDP debt clock. I could have done that or I could have done what the Leader of the Liberal Party asked me to do which was the complete opposite.

Well, Mr. Speaker, we are taking a responsible action here and when we determine what exactly has transpired here, and when we determine the appropriate actions that need to be taken; we will take them. Until such a time as we have the information to draw the appropriate conclusions; I am not prepared to stand here and speculate for a bit of political posturing on the other side of the House. [Emphasis added]

Fortunately,  Darin says they can keep their current contracts, and the pay along with it, until they renegotiate or leave their current position whichever comes first:

“At that time we will make sure the salary and compensation package that’s offered is the one that’s approved, not the one that was offered in error,” King said.

Unfortunately, King told that to the Western Star before he said he didn’t have enough information to figure out what “appropriate actions” need to be taken.

Oh well, at least Darin thinks he’s been clear in everything he’s said.



One Woman said...

Here's how it's being reported in Qatar:

CNA looking into financial errors
By Peter Townson
Staff Reporter

Officials of the College of the North Atlantic, Qatar (CNAQ) yesterday confirmed that some “errors” had been discovered in their financial system in Canada and that investigations were underway to discover the extent of the problem.

Reports in Canada indicated that the president of the College of the North Atlantic (CNA), Jean Madill, has resigned, claiming that government officials had gone over her head to deal with the current situation, which has seen irregularities surrounding the Qatar campus costing some 5mn Canadian dollars.

CNAQ president Enid Strickland told Gulf Times that the college would be investigating the matter and any amount that was overcharged would be reimbursed.

“CNA in Canada discovered errors in the system and immediately reported the matter to Qatar in an effort to inform and to resolve the problem,” she claimed, adding that a team from Canada had visited Qatar in March to explain the irregularities as soon as they were discovered.

“CNAQ, CNA and the executive committee of Qatar are investigating the matter,” she said, adding “the State of Qatar will be reimbursed by CNA Canada for any amounts that were overcharged in error”.

The executive committee is the Qatari organisation that pays a fee to CNA for the management and running of the campus in Doha.

These fees are based largely on the salaries that CNAQ pays their employees, and because staff have been overpaid, the fees that CNA has been charging have also been incorrectly calculated, according to Strickland
She said that all contracts for CNAQ were dealt with in Canada and that the errors were made there and not in Qatar.

“The president of CNA in Canada has resigned, but nobody here will be affected – there is nothing to investigate here (Qatar), this is all in Newfoundland,” she claimed.
She said new contracts with the correct salaries were signed at a meeting with the staff yesterday.

“This only affects a limited number of faculty members and some support staff,” said Strickland, adding “and now we have discussed the situation with them and signed their new contracts, everyone is fine.

Although government officials in Canada claimed that CNA had overpaid 3.5mn Canadian dollars in salaries, and subsequently overcharged the executive committee in Qatar by 1.5mn Canadian dollars, Strickland could not confirm these figures, stating that the ongoing investigation when would find out the amount involved.

One Woman said...

Ann another report:

Overpayment at CNA-Q triggers row
Web posted at: 4/29/2010 2:44:1
Source :::
DOHA: A $5m overpayment scandal at a major foreign university in Qatar has triggered a controversy in Canada.

According to the Canadian press, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador has announced that some college employees were mistakenly overpaid by about $3.5m and Qatar was overcharged $1.5m in fees and benefits.

At least 35 percent of the College of North Atlantic-Qatar employees with contracts ending in December 2010, and 30 percent of employees with contracts ending in December 2011, were affected by the errors.
The Canadian government is investigating into the cause of the error.

However, the employees of the Qatar campus will receive their current salary for the remainder of their contracts, the reports say.

Added to this, Jean Madill, President, College of North Atlantic, tendered her resignation to the government, a day before it announced that the financial goof-up at CNA-Q added up to $5m.
In a letter distributed to college employees, Madill suggested that the government was interfering directly in the college’s financial affairs and had bypassed her.

“I cannot be supportive of the manner in which the government of Newfoundland and Labrador handle issues related to our college. I am in position of all of the responsibility and none of the authority,” the Canadian press quoted Madill’s letter.
As a result of the salary overpayments, the college had overcharged management and benefits fees which are paid as a percentage by Qatar to CNA. The $5m represents both the overpayment and money that now has to be paid back to Qatar, which overpaid subsidies to the college because of the original error.

Employees had been paid $3.5m too much in salaries and $1.5m in fees and benefits. The government is investigating how the salary errors were made. An external consultant is being hired to conduct a review of the situation and recommend changes to ensure protocols are in place to prevent a similar occurrence in the future, reports said.

The CNA-Q campus, which opened in 2002, employs about 400 faculty members and provides programmes to about 2,300 students.