7 5 !(9( < ;

Cape Breton Post - - OBITUARIES/NEWS -

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. (CP) — The for­mer fi­nan­cial di­rec­tor of the New­found­land and Labrador leg­is­la­ture was sen­tenced Mon­day to two years in jail for his role in the prov­ince’s spending scan­dal.

Bill Mur­ray pleaded guilty in Jan­uary to fraud and three counts of tak­ing bribes in ex­change for his in­flu­ence from 1998 to 2006.

Three other charges of fraud, breach of trust and forg­ing a doc­u­ment were with­drawn.

Mur­ray, a mar­ried fa­ther of grown chil­dren, will also be placed on two years’ pro­ba­tion, and he was or­dered to write a let­ter of apol­ogy to the peo­ple of the prov­ince.

Mur­ray was sus­pended in 2006 af­ter the pro­vin­cial au­di­tor gen­eral re­leased damn­ing re­ports on over­pay­ments to four politi­cians worth about $1 mil­lion. The au­dits also flagged pay­ments to lo­cal com­pa­nies worth an­other $2.6 mil­lion.

Ac­cord­ing to an agreed state­ment of facts read last month in Supreme Court, Mur­ray took kick­backs both from a con­stituency al­lowance scheme and through bo­gus in­voices billed to lo­cal com­pa­nies for prod­ucts never re­ceived.

Crown at­tor­ney Frances Knickle has said it’s es­ti­mated Mur­ray ac­cepted about $400,000 in bribes, but it is im­pos­si­ble to know for cer­tain.

The scheme al­lowed Mur­ray, the only pub­lic ser­vant charged in the spending scan­dal, to feed a $500-a-day slot ma­chine habit.

In the agreed state­ment of facts, Mur­ray ad­mit­ted he hid ex­pense claim over­pay­ments to four for­mer politi­cians in offi- cial spending re­ports to the leg­is­la­ture.

Those cheques went to for­mer Lib­eral cab­i­net min­is­ters Jim Walsh and Wally Andersen, for­mer Con­ser­va­tive leader and cab­i­net min­is­ter Ed Byrne, and ex-NDP mem­ber Randy Collins.

All four were sent to jail. Byrne and Andersen have since been re­leased on con­di­tions.

Mur­ray was also or­dered Mon­day to re­pay $177,000 — the most lawyers for the prose­cu­tion and de­fence said last month the bank­rupt man could rea­son­ably af­ford.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.