Monday, May 09, 2005

Another Conflict of Interest

Via comes this little story from the Hill Times about yet another Liberal scandal.

"Conservative MP John Williams, one of Parliament's most fearsome spending watchdogs, has set his sights on longstanding allegations of government mismanagement and misconduct linked to the federal government's coveted $1-billion contract to relocate public servants across the country.

The veteran MP aims to bring the matter to the House Public Accounts Committee he chairs in a move that could see the opposition-controlled committee formally recommend that Auditor General Sheila Fraser also get involved.

The program has been dogged by management problems for years, including allegations that public servants handling the file at Public Works found themselves in conflict of interest situations for accepting hospitality from the winning bidder, Royal LePage Relocation Services, according to government documents.

Mr. Williams was spurred into action after he was recently approached by one of the companies that lost out on the contract. The Oakville, Ont., firm, called Envoy, alleges that Public Works unfairly tilted the contract towards Royal LePage and wants the Auditor General to probe the matter.

"I take the issue seriously," said Mr. Williams last week. "I will be taking it to the Public Accounts Committee and we'll see where it goes from there."

The committee is expected to pass a motion this week recommending an investigation from the Auditor General's Office."