Apology to Berg Naqvi Lehmann

Andrew Bennett
By Andrew Bennett
May 16th, 2012

In an editorial on May 3 I wrote about an issue I had raised to the auditor that did not make it to council before the final audit, despite assurances that matters raised by the public would be addressed to staff and then council.

I contacted Berg Naqvi Lehmann, Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors (BNL) to find out why the issue had not been addressed. I was told the audit had found no issue with these accounts, so it had not been mentioned in the final report, nor separately to council.

Later that day, BNL contacted me to tell me the issue would be addressed to council in camera.

I wrote in the editorial:

“Could it signal a conflict of interest that Kumar and Naqvi have been associated for decades and are good friends? Kumar suggested Naqvi’s firm take over the audit when Kumar first came on board as CAO.

“Who audits the auditor?”

Soon afterwards, however, I learned that my source had been incorrect, and that BNL began to do Rossland’s audit before CAO Victor Kumar joined the city.

I immediately issued an apology in the form of a comment appended to the editorial:

“My apologies to the readership and to Amed Naqvi of BNL. It has come to my attention that my source was incorrect in attesting that Mr. Naqvi was brought on as the city auditor at Victor Kumar’s suggestion. BNL and Mr. Naqvi first did Rossland’s audit the year before Mr. Kumar became the CAO.

“I am sorry that I published this misinformation before securing corroboration.”

Indeed, in a letter to our publisher, BNL assert that “Mr. Amed Naqvi, the partner in charge of the Rossland audit has known Mr. Kumar only as an employee of an audit client, since approximately 1995. They are not friends and in fact have only been associated in the context of municipal audits of Nelson, Grand Forks, and now Rossland.”

They add, “It should be made clear that the appointment of auditors is a council decision, not that of a CAO.”

I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to BNL for publicly questioning their independence.

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