Auditor General better choice for Nalcor severance investigation
NDP House Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA, St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi) insists the Premier should have gone directly to the Auditor General to investigate questions around Nalcor’s payment of $1.4 million to a CEO who said in public he was resigning. Instead, says Michael, the premier asked the Department of Justice to look into it; the Deputy Minister of that department sits on the new Nalcor board, and Michael says the Auditor General would appear more transparent, in addition to being better equipped for the job.
“The Premier has said it is responsible and prudent to let the Department of Justice, a government department now represented on the Board of Nalcor, do an inquiry into the matter of the severance paid to the outgoing Nalcor CEO,” Michael said in Question Period in the House of Assembly today.
“I ask the Premier if he has read Sections 16 and 17 of the Auditor General’s Act giving the Auditor General, an impartial body, unfettered powers in conducting inquiries into the financial affairs of public properties?”
Michael points out that the answers the people of the province are looking for would come more quickly if the Premier asked the Auditor General to investigate.
“Can the Premier explain why he is wasting time asking a government department without the same legislated powers of investigation into Crown Corporations as the Auditor General, carry on an inquiry for which it has no defined process?” she asked.
Michael also asks which branch of the Department of Justice and Public Safety is the appropriate one to be investigating the severance payment.