Serious allegations about Liberal minister warrant independent investigation

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VICTORIA — Serious allegations against B.C. Liberal Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk about his role as chair of Kwantlen’s Human Resource committee warrant an independent investigation, say New Democrats.

“A series of leaked documents, including allegations that Mr. Virk and other board members at Kwantlen were planning to funnel $100,000 to senior executives from the foundation that provides bursaries and grants to students, make it clear that an independent investigation is needed,” said New Democrat advanced education critic David Eby.

In addition to documents about plans to funnel money out of the foundation to senior executives, Eby tabled other leaked emails in the legislature on Thursday which allege that administrators and executives at the school were aware of schemes to hide improper bonus payments to the school’s best paid executives.

Currently, the minister and the school are under an internal investigation by the Ministry of Finance, and Virk has been answering questions about what went on at Kwantlen himself, despite the fact that the documents suggest he may be involved.

“I’m receiving printed e-mails in envelopes, so are media outlets. This strongly suggests that there are whistleblowers at Kwantlen who want to bring forward evidence they have,” said Eby. “These whistleblowers can’t have confidence that the current investigation is independent; they need to know that they won’t lose their jobs if they come forward. That’s why the investigation needs to be fully independent from the B.C. Liberal government.

“Minister Virk’s response that documents being leaked about his own conduct or the conduct of his former colleagues at Kwantlen should be handed over to him or his colleagues inside government is just not good enough,” said Eby.

“These are serious allegations involving a great deal of public money and a B.C. Liberal minister may be directly involved. This demands a fully independent investigation that guarantees protection for people with information at Kwantlen.”