POLITICS
02/12/2014 06:06 EST | Updated 04/14/2014 05:59 EDT

Montreal names new inspector general to fight corruption at city hall

MONTREAL - A high-profile lawyer with a long history of fighting organized crime has been appointed by Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre as the city's new inspector general.

Denis Gallant used to be a familiar face to Quebecers as a star attorney at the province's public inquiry into corruption in the construction industry.

He was also previously a Crown prosecutor specializing in cases involving organized crime, illegal drugs and the proceeds of crime.

The Quebec government modified Montreal's city charter on Wednesday to create the position, which was promised by Coderre in his election campaign last fall.

Gallant has a five-year, non-renewable mandate to be the city's anti-corruption watchdog in the awarding and execution of city contracts.

He will report to city council, which can overturn his decisions, and will have a $5-million budget.

Refusal to co-operate with the inspector general is punishable by a fine.

Coderre told a Quebec City news conference after the charter was modified that Montreal is in a good position to fight corruption with the addition of the inspector general and the recent integration of Montreal police officers into the province's anti-corruption squad.