Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Auditing The RailGate Double-Down...


Well whaddy'a know....

It turns out that the Auditor General of British Columbia, John (not the TeeVee guy) Doyle, is having a hard time getting what the court ordered he should have gotten six months ago. Specifically, lawyers are refusing to give Mr. Doyle documents related to the six million dollar deal that abruptly ended the RailGate trial just as the Campbell-Clark government's former Finance Minister, Mr. Gary Collins, was scheduled to take the stand.

So, as a result, the Auditor General went back to court again this week.

The following is from Les Leyne's report in the suddenly slightly cultish Victoria Times-Colonist:

"...(T)he auditor general filed a petition with the B.C. Supreme Court that came to light Tuesday. If he gets what he's after, it could fill his desk to overflowing with specific details about the legal bills and how the taxpayers ended up paying them.

Doyle's office is working on an audit of all special indemnities granted by the government over the last several years, Basi and Virk's included. There have been about 100 such deals struck and the audit is to determine if taxpayers got value for the money.

Based on his work to date, Doyle appears quite skeptical of the arrangements. In requesting full access to all details of the two men's indemnities, Doyle states to the court there are a number of apparent problems with such deals.

They are granted outside of established policy, there is no set approval process and government staff may not fully understand what they're doing in processing such indemnities, he said. And in a few cases, where the minister of finance approves an indemnity, usually for an elected politician, "the approval is not supported by legal advice from the attorney general's ministry."....


Why should that last bit, highlighted in red, matter?


There are at least two reasons.

First, if these things really have been done outside of 'established policy' then the Toope Report, with respect to Basi/Virk/Basi at least, truly was a superfluous exercise from the beginning that, as we have already established, was cooked up at the behest of the current leader of the Campbell-Clark government back when the heat was really on after the Auditor General first got the high-sign from the court back in the late spring.

Second, and this, in my opinion, is the really important point.....We actually know that the Finance Ministry was involved in the RailGate double-down decision making process.

And do any cult members out there remember who, specifically, in the Finance Ministry worked this file and allegedly, according to Vaughn Palmer at least, made the dollar line decision without the requirement for Treasury Board or Cabinet input/approval?*

Well, that very fine public servant's name is Mr. Graham Whitmarsh.

Which is interesting, in and of itself, on a whole lot of levels.

But what really matters, with respect to who did NOT have to testify in a court of law, under oath, because of the double-down, is the fact that Mr. Whitmarsh once worked at the same company, Harmony Airlines, as former Finance Minister, Mr. Gary Collins, at the same time.

Which means that the man who helped approve the deal, Mr. Whitmarsh, was once a business associate of the man, Mr. Collins, who did not have to testify because of it.

The deal, I mean.




Norm Farrell said...

Shear coincidence of course but Collins and Whitmarsh both worked for David Ho, a man with a reputation for prowling in places where billionaires don't normally go. He has been awaiting trial on several serious charges that surfaced in 2009.

Mr. Ho would not get special treatment from the AG's department just because he provided soft landing grounds for certain politicians. Right?

RossK said...

Don't know about that Norm.

I do, however, know that Mr. Ho's trial, which was scheduled to begin in late October has been delayed until early 2012.

Oh, and one other thing....there is currently a publication ban in place.