EDMONTON, AB (January 20, 2014): The Wildrose Official Opposition is asking the Auditor General to investigate after learning that Alberta Health Services allegedly purchased more than 11,000 computer units at a cost of $9.5 million which then sat unused in an Edmonton warehouse for well over a year.
The allegations are being made by an anonymous whistleblower who contacted Wildrose last week with details about the purchase and the subsequent warehousing of the equipment. According to the whistleblower, AHS purchased 9,330 computers and monitors and 2,058 laptops at the end of the 2011-2012 budget year for use in Edmonton. However, the computers were not deployed as planned and sat unused in a warehouse until June of 2013 when the whistleblower drew the government’s attention to them. Some of the units have since been deployed but warranties have already expired. “If these allegations are true, it represents an enormous example of government incompetence and waste,” Wildrose Deputy Health Critic Kerry Towle said, who penned a letter last week to the Auditor General asking for the investigation. “We certainly think there is more than enough evidence contained in this whistleblower’s letter to warrant an investigation into what exactly happened and how almost $10 million worth of computer equipment was essentially lost.” In addition to the computers’ sticker price, Towle says there are unanswered questions about storage fees and the cost of replacing technology that became outdated while they sat unused. “The single health superboard model was supposed to streamline these kinds of things and save taxpayers money,” Towle said. “However, it appears that AHS can’t even figure out how to replace computers without wasting millions of dollars. We need to get to the bottom of this.”