Senate committee to consider motion to grill Deloitte executive Michael Runia

OTTAWA – A normally secretive Senate committee will take another look at whether to have a Deloitte executive testify in the Senate expense scandal.

Senate Speaker Noel Kinsella says the chamber’s internal economy committee is to hear a motion today that would call on Michael Runia to discuss allegations of interference in the audit of Sen. Mike Duffy’s expenses.

Last week, Conservative senators blocked a Liberal move to hear from Runia.

Documents filed in court by the RCMP suggest that Runia called a more junior Deloitte employee about the Duffy audit at the behest of Conservative Sen. Irving Gerstein.

The documents also allege that Gerstein made the call after being asked to contact Deloitte by the Prime Minister’s Office.

Runia is also the auditor responsible for the Tory party’s fundraising arm, the Conservative Fund of Canada, which Gerstein runs.

Gary Timm, one of the two lead auditors on the Duffy file, testified last week that Runia called him and made inappropriate inquiries.

The call came some time in March, weeks before the Senate’s internal economy committee heard the audit’s preliminary findings during an April 16 closed-door meeting.

Timm told the Senate committee that Runia wanted to know how much of his housing claims Duffy would have to pay back. Timm said he explained to Runia that he couldn’t reveal confidential audit information, then ended the conversation.

The Mounties have been looking into a $90,000 payment made to Duffy by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, and have levelled allegations of fraud, breach of trust and possible bribery against the pair.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.




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