Canada reports on misused funds

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[Ottawa] Canada's Auditor General Sheila Fraser issued a damning report Feb. 10 about misuse of much of the $190 million in sponsorship funds funneled through ad agencies working for the government since 1995. Her findings, which she described as "shocking and outrageous," included choosing ad agencies and awarding contracts without complying with government rules, writing checks in violation of those rules and lack of documentation. A number of ad agencies were named in the report as receiving commissions or fees for doing little or no work. None of the agencies returned calls. Prime Minister Paul Martin recalled and fired Canada's ambassador to Denmark, Alfonso Gagliano, previously a cabinet minister whose department oversaw the sponsorship program. Fourteen government workers have already been reprimanded or fired. Mr. Martin has appointed a special counsel to try to recover misused funds and started an independent public inquiry to investigate the scandal. AdAge.com QwikFIND aap37v
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