NEWS

9 Senate expense cases sent to RCMP for investigation

06/05/2015 04:20 EDT | Updated 06/05/2016 05:59 EDT
The expense files of nine current and former senators are being sent to the RMCP today ahead of Tuesday's release of a forensic audit by the auditor general that flags a total of more than $975,000 in questionable spending.

That dollar figure includes the nine cases being referred to the Mounties, along with those of another 21 former and current senators who have also been flagged to repay ineligible expenses. According to The Canadian Press, five of the cases alone account for nearly $550,000 of ineligible spending.

One of the nine whose files are being sent to the RCMP lashed out in a statement Friday.

Retired Conservative senator Gerry St. Germain, says auditor general Michael Ferguson's findings are "adverse, baseless and unsubstantiated."

Retired Conservative senator Donald Oliver and Liberal Marie-Paule Charette-Poulin, who resigned from the Senate in April due to health reasons, also issued statements Friday vowing to defend their spending records.

The other files being referred to the RCMP relate to sitting Senators Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu (Que.), who left the Conservative caucus Thursday, and Liberal-appointed Colin Kenny (Ont.), and four others who have left the Senate: Liberal-appointed Sharon Carstairs (Man.), Rose-Marie Losier-Cool (N.B.), William Rompkey (N.L.), and Rod Zimmer (Man.) ​

St. Germain, who represented British Columbia in the Senate from 1993 to 2012 and previously served as a Progressive Conservative MP and minister, said in a statement Friday he believed the auditor general came to his finding with incomplete records.

"I am deeply disappointed with how the auditor general went about conducting this audit," he said, adding "bias or prejudgment" may have played a role in his findings. "My efforts now will focus on defending my hard earned reputation and challenging a process that has been unfair and unjust."

Each of the 30 current and former senators named in the report can appeal paying back the so-called inappropriate expenses through an independent Senate arbitrator — a process that was not available to the former senator and three suspended senators already named in the Senate expense scandal.

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