Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Sask: Liquor store fraud

From the Leader Post:

The managers of government liquor stores in Biggar and La Loche have been fired and the RCMP has been called in to investigate $247,000 in financial irregularities, the province announced Tuesday.

The two unrelated cases raise the number of major incidents of financial misappropriation within government over the last year to four and the total amount at stake to over $1.75 million.

Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority spokesperson Stephanie Choma said she could not provide details such as the nature of the irregularities since the cases are under criminal investigation and have been referred to the provincial auditor.

There are so many reasons for taxpayers to be concerned about this issue, and so many reasons to be angry. First off, the provincial auditor warned in no fewer than two reports that Sask liquor stores had improper financial controls and the government ignored him. But this isn't the first time the auditor's concerns have been ignored.

For several years the auditor warned of possible fraud in the welfare department. Lo and behold, taxpayers learn they are out hundreds of thousands of dollars. The auditor has repeatedly warned about the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority and problems continue.

Last but not least, it's time to privatize government liquor stores. The CTF has submitted recommendations to government that would create new businesses, lower liquor prices, provide better selection and service AND save taxpayers $8 million a year.

We commissioned Sigma Analytics to poll Saskatchewan residents on liquor privatization and the results were surprising to many (but not to us). It was about as big a sample you can get in Saskatchewan (1500). 72 per cent of respondents said that government should have NO role whatsoever in the liquor business, or that the role should be limited to wholesale.

Read the report.

2 comments:

len pryor said...

It's long past the time to privatize liquor stores in Sask. The stealing from taxpayers as found in these wo cases would be ended. I'm sure a private store owner would have discovered the shortages at the till a lot sooner than these guys did.

Shawn said...

Perhaps people will realize this farce come the next provincial election. There is simply no discernable rationale for the government to interfere with liqour distribution. Why not have only government selling guns, cigarettes, or pornography too? Since booze and gambling are in their pocket the next logical targets are guns, smokes and sex.

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