NEWS RELEASE · 20th October 2010
NDP leader says existence of non-disclosure agreement fuels further speculation
Following reports defendants in the B.C. Rail corruption trial were made to sign a non-disclosure agreement, New Democrat leader Carole James is asking the B.C. Liberals to come clean on whether the arrangement was struck in exchange for the taxpayer funded payment of their legal bills.
“It now appears the B.C. Liberals may have used $6 million in public funds to protect their political interests by silencing Dave Basi and Bobby Virk,” said James. “That’s why the B.C. Liberals must immediately clear the air and release all details related to the payment to Basi and Virk and the conditions associated with it.”
According to media reports, the B.C. Rail trial plea deal included a non-disclosure agreement preventing Basi and Virk to talk about their time in government in exchange for the payment of their legal fees. In speaking with the Globe and Mail about the non-disclosure agreement, special prosecutor Bill Berardino confirmed, "All of that stuff does not touch or involve my responsibility as special prosecutor whatsoever.”
James said it raises further questions about the B.C. Liberals’ direct involvement in the indemnity deal and their motivation behind it.
“To average British Columbians, it strikes as a reprehensible deal and a brazen assault on public trust. The public is asking serious questions,” said James. “Was the $6 million payment by the government used as hush money to avoid further political embarrassment arising from the trial? Was a non-disclosure agreement signed in order to buy silence from the accused and now convicted criminals in the B.C. Rail corruption trial? Who in government made the offer and what role did it play in arriving at the plea deal?”
James said it’s incumbent upon the government to lay out full details of how the deal was reached.
“The Premier and the attorney general must immediately release every shred of correspondence related to the indemnification deal, including documents that include, phone records, internal memos, approvals and emails,” said James. “Nothing short of full public disclosure on how the deal was reached will satisfy these questions.”
James and the New Democrats have called for a public inquiry into the sale of B.C. Rail as well as they are demanding that the B.C. Liberal government hold a fall session to start answering questions they’ve avoided for years.