Two BC Liberal government aides surprised observers by quietly pleading guilty to corruption charges regarding the sale of BC Rail. Robert Virk and David Basi wrangled a plea deal that has them dodging jail time in favour of two years less a day of house arrest.
As the guilty pleas short-circuited the criminal trial that was to have received evidence from several BC Liberal officials and cabinet ministers the provincial NDP is calling for an enquiry to get to the bottom of what actually happened. From The Tyee:
"Are the taxpayers on the hook for Basi and Virk's legal bills? If so that's outrageous," NDP MLA Leonard Krog said in an interview. "If you're found guilty as a government employee, why should the taxpayers pay for your defence."
Krog says ending the trial without testimony from several former cabinet ministers and government insiders is a "complete shock" that makes an inquiry essential.
As part of the plea bargain, money laundering charges were dropped. With the BC Il-Liberal government up to its neck in scandals and the premier's popularity at a less than impressive 9% it would be understandable that the government would appreciate any deal that avoided senior members having to testify.