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Dentists lose DKK 40,000 gold stash

A large reserve of gold, used for dentures, is missing from the dentists' school, the Department of Odontology. An external audit proves that no one has been taking stock of the precious metal

Someone at the Department of Odontology at the Faculty of Health and Medicinal Sciences has made a mess of storing their gold safely and accounting for it. And someone, may, or may not, have stolen some of it.

PwC, the University of Copenhagen’s (UCPH) accountants, paid the Department a visit to control the stock levels of dental materials at Odontology and found 121.54 grammes of gold, worth DKK 40,000, to be missing.

“Stock levels have not been counted or verified since 30 September 2012, and when we counted everything on 5 March 2013 it was not possible to match the physical count to the one in the books,” says PwC’s report in connection to 2012’s financial statements.

Tighter rules

Head of Faculty Arnold Boon calls the situation “regrettable”, and explains that the bookkeeping was in order prior to 2012, but that staff turnover and the merger with the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences meant that the necessary check-ups didn’t happen in 2012.

“In theory, the gold could have been stolen, but I have no reason to suspect any of the staff, so I assume it comes down to a lack of bookkeeping,” says Arnold Boon.

The accountants from PwC are currently going over every transaction since October 2012, and the procedures have now been tightened up drastically, so the gold stock is counted and verified every month.

Unnecessary gold

“The case is serious enough that I intervened immediately, and asked the Department to clarify how they handle and store their gold, but I would like to emphasise that I don’t have anything on the staff. The books have to be in order, of course, but the Faculty has an overall turnover of DKK 2.6 billion, so in the broader scheme of things the error maybe isn’t so big,” says Arnold Boon.

He adds that as result of this incident, the Department will no longer have any gold as of 30 June this year. In 2012 there was just under DKK 1.4 million of gold in the safe, stored in a secret place in the Panum building. The total amount is now down to 300g – approximately DKK 100,000.

For reasons of hygiene, Odontology uses two types of gold of different purity levels, priced DKK 314 and DKK 239 per gram. They are used in conjunction with training future dentists to do crowns of gold. Today it is possible to buy ready-made crowns for teeth, so it’s no longer actually necessary to use the gold.

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