POLITICS

Key findings from New Brunswick auditor general's report into Atcon

03/24/2015 01:46 EDT | Updated 05/24/2015 05:59 EDT
FREDERICTON - Key findings from the auditor general's report into New Brunswick's financial support for the Atcon group of companies, which went bankrupt in April 2010:

MONEY TRAIL:

Dating back to 1993, the Economic Development Department gave the Atcon group of companies $77.3 million in grants, loans and loan guarantees. Of that, $69.6 million has not been paid back.

NEED NOT APPLY:

In her report, Kim MacPherson says Atcon never filed a formal written application for $50 million in loan guarantees that were provided in June 2009. Instead, a request was prepared by a departmental staff member, who recommended the assistance not be granted.

UNHEEDED WARNINGS:

The cabinet of then-premier Shawn Graham approved the $50 million in loan guarantees despite repeated risks raised by senior officials. Terms and conditions intended to minimize the province's risk were put in place, but the cabinet later removed them.

CAN IT HAPPEN AGAIN?

MacPherson says no recommendations can prevent what happened with Atcon as long as elected officials can influence decisions to provide financial assistance to the private sector.