The special prosecutor had nothing to do with that part of the deal. It was made in Victoria by deputy minister of finance Graham Whitmarsh in concert with deputy attorney-general David Loukidelis.....
The deputy duo acted under the authority of the Financial Administration Act, de Jong added, which brought a provocative e-mail from a reader.
On what authority? he asked, noting that the act explicitly states that only the cabinet can forgive "a debt or obligation to the government if the amount forgiven is $100,000 or more."
The amount forgiven here exceeded that threshold by a factor of 60. But no cabinet order was forthcoming because the amount was not, technically, a debt. It could have been, if the accused had been convicted and the Crown had proceeded to try to recover the legal fees.
But when the decision was made, the outstanding legal bills were only a contingent liability, advanced by way of indemnity, and cancellable by the deputy minister of finance under his standing authority under the act. Whitmarsh, acting on the recommendation of Loukidelis, signed off on all the paper work.
The cabinet was thus out of the loop, which is surely preferable to having ministers make the call on any aspect of the deal to end this case....."