Duffy accused of charging for travel to funeral, ceremonies in Ottawa

TC Media newsroom@journalpioneer.com
Published on July 22, 2014

Senator Mike Duffy. FILE PHOTO


OTTAWA — The RCMP provided fresh details Monday of its 31 fraud charges against Sen. Mike Duffy, accusing him of charging taxpayers for personal travel to funerals and for services from four people, including an Ottawa personal trainer.

A new court filing alleges “inappropriate expense claims associated with personal attendance at funeral and related ceremonies.”

According to the court documents, Duffy filed five separate expense claims that the RCMP alleges involved personal or partisan travel. The claims were filed from June 2009 to September 2012.

Duffy is also accused of fraudulently awarding a $65,000 contract to his longtime friend, Gerald Donohue. The RCMP allege that Donohue, in turn, paid some of that money to three other people, including a personal trainer.

Donohue has already told investigators that he did “no tangible work” for the money.

The RCMP announced last week it was charging Duffy with 31 criminal counts related to his expense claims, accusing him of misspending more than $200,000.

The charges stem from the disgraced senator’s housing and travel expenses, and a $90,000 payment from Nigel Wright, the former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Duffy has denied any criminal wrongdoing. Neither Duffy nor his lawyer, Donald Bayne, would comment on the new information, referring the news media to a statement released last week, when the RCMP first laid the charges.

The Conservative-appointed senator is to appear in court Sept. 16.

The NDP’s Peter Julian says as more details emerge about Duffy’s alleged crimes, the questions reach all the way to Harper’s office. He says it’s time for the prime minister to “come clean.”

“As more of the details come out, Canadians are asking: ’What does and what did the prime minister know, and when did he know it?’ That’s the question he’s yet to answer and he must answer.”

In April, the RCMP concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Wright. The prime minister had previously insisted Duffy repay his expenses, but the senator said he didn’t have the money.

Wright then stepped in and wrote a personal cheque for $90,000 to Duffy to help him cover his expenses.