Virk needs to explain irregular payments to Kwantlen executives

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VICTORIA – Minister of Advanced Education Amrik Virk needs to explain more than $100,000 in irregular payments made on his watch at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, say the New Democrats.

“In addition to their disclosed salaries, at least $100,000 in payments to two university executives was hidden from public view in Kwantlen’s financial reports,” said New Democrat leader Adrian Dix.

Dix and New Democrat advanced education critic David Eby raised questions in the legislature Wednesday about why the payments were hidden and proper salary disclosure procedures were ignored.

They presented evidence that KPU made a $50,000 payment to the current university president in the 2013 budget year and failed to properly report it as part of his compensation. In 2012, the university made a similar $56,280 payment to the former university vice-president, which it also failed to properly report.

Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk was vice-chair of Kwantlen’s board of governors and chair of its human resources subcommittee at the time the payments were made and not properly reported. The board is responsible for ensuring that appropriate financial reporting procedures are followed, while the subcommittee Minister Virk chaired is responsible for Kwantlen’s human resources policies.

“Did Minister Virk think it was appropriate to hide more than $100,000 from the government agency responsible for enforcing salary caps? He needs to explain these unsettling reports,” said Eby.

“We need to have confidence that Kwantlen is meeting the government’s requirement of honest reporting. Its 17,000 students and the taxpayers who supply almost $70 million a year to this institution have to be sure that their hard-earned money is being accounted for,” said Eby.

“Minister Virk is now in charge of all the post-secondary institutions in this province. He has an obligation to ensure that these institutions are putting students first.”