RCMP investigates $90K cheque to Mike Duffy
Published Thursday, June 13, 2013 10:29AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 13, 2013 9:01PM EDT
The federal ethics commissioner is no longer investigating a $90,000 cheque written to Sen. Mike Duffy by Nigel Wright, the former chief of staff in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office, because the RCMP has opened its own investigation.
Wright resigned last month after admitting he wrote a cheque to Duffy to enable him to reimburse the Senate for improper living expense claims.
Mary Dawson announced Thursday that she suspended her investigation into the matter when she learned Wright is under investigation by “another agency.”
CTV confirmed the agency is the RCMP.
The Mounties released a statement on Thursday indicating that no charges related in the Senate investigation have been laid.
“The RCMP continues its investigation to determine whether a criminal act has taken place,” Cpl. Lucy Shorey said in a statement.
Duffy was ordered to repay more than $90,000 for ineligible living expenses he had claimed, which he repaid in April. CTV News later reported that the Duffy received $90,172 for the repayment from Wright, who has since resigned as Harper’s chief of staff.
Harper has maintained he didn’t know anything about the cheque to Duffy until CTV broke the news on May 15.
Sen. David Tkachuk, who stepped down as chair of the Senate’s Internal Economy committee Thursday as he undergoes preventative cancer treatment, said he would wait until the RCMP investigation wraps up before commenting on the matter.
“It bothers me a bit, but at the same time it’s not the first time and it won’t be the last time. Things like this happen to parliamentarians from time to time,” Tkachuk told Power Play.
“When these things take place what we have to be concerned about is that due process is followed and they’re treated like any other citizen would be,” he added.
Last month the committee released reports based on the independent audits of housing expense claims filed by Duffy and Senators Patrick Brazeau and Mac Harb.
Tkachuk said the three senators were sent letters this week indicating the amounts they’re required to repay, which they have 30 days to pay back.
When the audits were released in May, auditing firm Deloitte requested extra time to review the travel expenses of Senator Pamela Wallin.
Tkachuk said he expects that audit would be tabled in the Senate’s Internal Economy committee in late July.
“We’re not thrilled that it’s taking so long,” said Sen. Carolyn Stewart Olsen. “And I do have to say, for Sen. Wallin too, it’s been a terribly long process and I don’t like that either. But for transparency, we will make every effort to make sure that everyone’s informed.”
Wallin has already repaid $38,000 in travel expenses.
Canada’s Auditor General Michael Ferguson has also been called in to conduct an audit of Senate expenses.
Ferguson wouldn’t speculate on how long the audit would last, but said most performance audits take an average of 18 months.
During that time, Ferguson said he expects to have unrestricted access to pertinent information.