Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Campbell Government Aides Plead Guilty to Corruption Charges

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.


Okie said...

Looks like the BC liberals are heading for a Richard Hatfield moment. For those unaware of who he was, or what I am referring to, (youngsters) he was a Premier of NB once upon a time, whose political career ended in a complete wipe out of his party. They lost every seat.

I noticed none of the lib bloggers had anything to say on this, but I figured if anyone would, it would be you Mound.

Is there a reason you followed this entry with one on corruption in Afghanistan?

Anonymous said...

One gets the feeling that political expediency triumphed (once again) over justice.

Given all the scandals and political parties seemingly bending the laws to suit them, it is a wonder that I have no trust or respect for Canada's justice system...
Couple with a police,RCMP and CSIS that seems out of control, well...

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Okie. No, it was entirely coincidental that BC corruption and Afghan corruption were juxtaposed. Even I won't yield to that temptation.

@CWTF - actually I have great respect for the justice system in our country, at least the judiciary. Law enforcement? That's another question. As for the Crown, I'll have to check and see if this was handled by a special prosecutor. That certainly seems to have been called for. I suppose once the BC Il-Libs are gone we'll learn whether they had politicized the provincial Crown. Thinking back on other cases I wouldn't rule it out.

Okie said...

Ok Mound. heh..I was just wondering.

I don't know a great deal about BC, so generally don't say much about goings on there, but this situation reminds me of some of the white washes we have experienced here in what is generally seen as the more backward outback. (NB / Maritimes)

We are still waiting for the bill to be made public from Hill and Knowlton for PR on the past Prov. liberal governments attempt to sell off NB Power. Same US based firm that handled PR for the invasion of Iraq.

A last thought, judging from our experiences, the more they get away with the more they think it's their right.