District-Led Investigation Referred to FBI Leads to Discovery of Major Vendor Kickback Scheme
Detroit Public Schools Community District’s Inspector General Bernadette Kakooza has released the District’s annual report which includes details of how an investigation referred to the FBI led to federal charges filed in the Norman Shy kickback scheme. Transition Manager Steven Rhodes reinstated the Office of Inspector General in April 2016 and appointed Bernadette Kakooza who presented Rhodes with an annual report for the 2015-16 Fiscal Year.
“The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is a critical element for the new District and our commitment to zero tolerance for wrongdoing and misconduct by any individual or organization affiliated with this District. The OIG will serve an active role as the District’s watchdog to protect our resources, employees, children and families,” said Steven Rhodes, Detroit Public Schools Community District Transition Manager.
The report reveals summaries of various investigations, which include: Improper Retention of Payroll Overpayments; Alleged Missing Funds at a District School; Fraudulent Transcripts Provided upon Hire; Missing Technology Equipment; and many more. The full version of the OIG’s 2016 Annual Report can be found by clicking this link.
To begin the 2016-17 school year, the OIG has posted Fraud Reporting 24 x 36 posters in schools and at the Central Office to remind staff, students and parents that there is an anonymous fraud telephone hotline and email to report complaints or alert the District of any wrongdoing or misconduct. Complaints may be filed anonymously via the office’s fraud telephone hotline (313-870-3436) and/or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Initially established in March 2009, the office was eliminated by the former Emergency Manager in June 2015. Transition Manager Judge Steven Rhodes reinstated the office in April 2016. Effective July 1, 2016, the OIG was restructured to include two (2) primary functions: investigations and internal audits.
The OIG’s mission is to conduct investigations and audits to improve District operations, while ensuring transparency, accountability and integrity among employees, contractors and vendors doing business with the school District.
The OIG’s Top Priorities for the 2016-17 School Year:
- The OIG will continue to conduct comprehensive investigations and forensic audits based upon receipt of actionable complaints into allegations of waste, fraud, abuse and financial mismanagement, and track recommendations for completion and resolution;
- The OIG will conduct investigations with independence, integrity, objectivity, and transparency in a timely manner;
- The OIG will maintain liaisons with critical partners including: DPSCD departments, FBI, United States Attorney’s Office, Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, Michigan Department of Education; Detroit Police Department, Michigan State Police, and other OIGs.
(B) Internal Audits
- The OIG will identify high risk areas within DPSCD operations and seek opportunities to strengthen operational efficiencies and effectiveness in these areas;
- The OIG will continue to seek proactive means of deterring fraud and recommend internal controls within DPSCD operations;
- The OIG will promote fraud prevention awareness throughout the District and the Detroit community through informational posters, training and risk assessment surveys.
About the Detroit Public Schools Community District
The Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) is the new public school district for the Detroit community. It was created through the Michigan Legislature’s passage of the education reform bills in June 2016. DPSCD has replaced the former Detroit Public Schools. It will maintain all 97 schools, as well as its necessary support services, including transportation, school nutrition, special education, early childhood learning and much more. In addition, DPSCD will emerge with new and innovative academic programs and support, along with facility improvements and enhanced security. Most significantly, DPSCD emerges with virtually no past debt obligations. Learn more at detroitk12.org.