26 January 2009

AG quietly starts offshore board audit

Officials of the province’s auditor general have started their audit of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, the spokesperson for the board confirmed for Bond Papers.

The audit began earlier this month.

The board is the joint federal provincial body that regulates the province’s offshore oil and gas industry.  Last year, the board issued invitations to both the federal and provincial auditors general to conduct audits;  only the provincial auditor accepted.

In the letter, chairman and chief executive officer Max Ruelokke notes that the board is concerned about "recent comments in the media concerning its finances which may be construed to imply some impropriety in the Board's finances."

That would be comments by Noseworthy, who is no stranger to making unsubstantiated accusations.

Auditor general John Noseworthy decided last year to audit the board, despite the fact that his office had never listed the board as an entity subject to audit.  Noseworthy claimed to have legal advice supporting his new position.  The legal opinion has never been made public.

The board refused the request indicating that  - as a joint federal-provincial body – the board should be audit by both federal and provincial auditors.

This did not satisfy Noseworthy who issued a special report accusing the board of breaking the province’s Auditor General Act.

Noseworthy made reference to the special report in his annual report for the year ending March 31, 2008.  However, Noseworthy neglected to note in the report that the dispute had been resolved and his office was now conducting the audit.



“No access restriction: offshore board”

“NL AG hoist by own petard of misleading statements”