Thursday, June 13, 2013

Good Day Readers:

It's interesting isn't to watch those Senators and Members of Parliament squirm as their expenses are challenged. There's Pamela Wallin who never met a camera she didn't like trying to block one as she entered the Senate recently. Or Marc Harb literally running away from reporters in the House of Commons only to be set upon again outside at which time it was essentially a, "No comment." What about Mike Duffy or Patrick Brazeau? Brave people these are don't you think taxpayers?

Notice the alacrity with which repayments are made even before a final decision has been rendered as if to say, "If I do so all this will go away." But what about the possibility of criminal charges?

In the case of these individuals, their final legacy will not be the good work they may have previously done but the Senate expense scandal ..... and whose fault is that?

Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk
Senate Scandal: Wallin audit won't be ready before July
An audit into Pamela Wallin's expenses won't be delivered to the Senate until the end of July

By Joanna Smith/Ottawa Bureau Reporter
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Senator Pamela Wallin, left, has reimbursed the federal government $38,000 and could be asked to pay back an additional $20,000, sources have said. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canada Press File Photo)

OTTAWA—The results of an independent review of the travel expenses of Senator Pamela Wallin will not be delivered to the Senate until the end of July.

Representatives from the forensic accounting firm Deloitte appeared before the Senate committee on internal economy, budgets and administration Thursday morning to explain why it is taking them so long to complete the review.

Gary Timm, a partner at Deloitte, said it was due to a late decision to add three more months to the period of review — January to March, 2009 — in order to have it go back to the time Wallin was appointed as a Conservative senator for Saskatchewan.

Timm said it is also because auditors are waiting for some information from a third party, which they expect to come in by the end of this month.

This means the Deloitte review and any committee reports on it will not be tabled before the Senate rises for the summer break, so it might not become public until the fall.

The media was allowed to observe as senators asked Deloitte auditors about the process of the audit, but reporters had to leave the room as senators moved into questions about its contents.

MORE ON THE SENATE SCANDAL
Tkachuk resigns as chair of Senate committee
Wallin’s lucrative life outside politics

Wallin, who left the Conservative caucus last month, has declined to answer recent questions about her expenses, saying she will comment only after the review by auditors is complete.

Wallin has reimbursed the federal government $38,000 and could be asked to pay back an additional $20,000, sources have said.

Earlier in the meeting, Nicole Proulx, director of finances at the Senate, confirmed the amount of money Sen. Mac Harb and Sen. Patrick Brazeau are being asked to repay in improperly claimed expenses.

Brazeau was sent a letter dated May 28 giving him 30 days to pay back $48,745 in living expenses and mileage, she said.

Harb was sent a letter on June 3 to repay $231,649 in mileage and living expenses within 30 days, she said.

That is higher than the original amount of $51,482 for Harb, because the committee had recommended going back further than the period covered by the audit. The new amount goes back seven years, which is as long as the Senate administration keeps those records.

Proulx noted the new figure is the result of calculations, but has not yet been reviewed.

Both Brazeau and Harb have said they will challenge the findings.

Senator Mike Duffy has already reimbursed the government $90,172 in improperly claimed expenses, with the help of a personal cheque for that amount from Nigel Wright, who had since resigned as chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

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