Monday, October 18, 2010

Basi-Virk sudden guilty plea brings public inquiry demands and questions who paid their legal fees

David Basi, centre, Aneal Basi, right & Bob Virk, farther right, face media after their trial suddenly ended with a plea bargain - Bill Tieleman photo

Surprise guilty plea in Basi-Virk political corruption trial of ex-BC Liberal aides brings call for public inquiry

By Bill Tieleman, 24 hours columnist

The surprise guilty plea Monday of two former B.C. Liberal government ministerial aides to political corruption charges related to the $1 billion B.C. Rail sale suddenly ends a seven-year case that began with a 2003 police raid of the Legislature.

That has the New Democrat opposition calling for a full public inquiry and asking if the plea bargain deal struck by David Basi and Bob Virk to serve two years less a day under house arrest includes their legal fees being paid for by government.

UPDATE 5 p.m. - BC Attorney General Mike de Jong confirmed late today that the government has been paying Basi and Virk's legal fees, will not be attempting to recover them and will not hold a public inquiry into the scandal

“Are the taxpayers on the hook for Basi and Virk’s legal bills? If so that’s outrageous,” NDP MLA Leonard Krog said in an interview. “If you’re found guilty as a government employee why should the taxpayers pay for your defence.”

Krog says ending the trial without testimony from several former cabinet ministers and government insiders is a “complete shock” that makes an inquiry essential.

Basi, Virk and Aneal Basi – whose money laundering charges were stayed as part of the agreement between Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino and defence lawyers – all referred questions about their legal fees to the B.C. Attorney General’s office. The Attorney General’s office has not yet responded to interview requests.

David Basi also pled guilty to a separate charge for being paid $50,000 by developers to help remove property near Victoria from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

He was fined a total of $75,695 on all charges – repaying the $50,000 amount and another $25,695 he allegedly received for passing confidential government information on the sale of B.C. Rail to a lobbyist for one of the bidders.

B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie accepted the guilty plea deal, noting that although their crimes were “serious breaches of trust by public officials” Basi and Virk both have no previous criminal record and each has a young family.


Unknown said...

If the government thinks they dodged a bullet, I think not. This verdict only bolds and underlines the cozy connection between our justice department and the Fiberals. We need a overhaul of our justice dept and it's connection to government. Justice today has been even more perveted.

DPL said...

Not the least bit surprised if we did. As usual the lawyers made a bundle, and the witness list disappeared which will make those waiting to appear can stop practicing the" I can't recall". This deal could have been sorted about seven years ago but the legal teams wouldn't have gotten so rich. wonder who will write the first book on the trial that fizzled out

Anonymous said...

And who is paying their living expenses? What a joke. If you drag it out and that doesn't work, pay them off.Say a million more in legal expenses always winds up in the clients hands. Only in B.C.

Grant G said...

Mr. T...Mike de Jong just had a press conference...Mike De JHong said...

"It was the special prosecutor who forgave all the legal fees for the defence, it was not the attorney general`s office" snip

How can a special prosecutor make that call, that has to be illegal!

Tina Zanetti said...

Hi Bill,

Whereas the charges of money laundering and organized crime were dropped, it does not stand the smell test.

It's nice to know though that lawyers involved with the case, shall pocket an unaccountable pay day at the courtesy of the tax payers. If that is not organized crime, I rest the case.

Tina Z

Grant G said...

From Ian Reid`s site....about paying the legal fees for the guilty defence.


Ian Mulgrew is reporting that Mike DeJong is saying that the Special Prosecutor made the decision to pay the defense’s costs.

But the AG should know that’s not possible. Under BC law only Cabinet and the minister can make that call. Here’s the relevant section of the Financial Administration Act:
Guarantees and indemnities

72 (1) The government may, subject to this section, give an indemnity or guarantee the performance of an obligation.

And there is a regulation that governs how this can be done:
Approval for indemnities on behalf of government

1 An indemnity may only be given by or on behalf of the government if

(a) prior written approval has been given by the Minister of Finance, or

(b) the director of the Risk Management Branch of the Ministry of Finance, or a person specified by the director for the purpose of this section, has given prior written assurance that the proposal for the indemnity has been reviewed and accepted by the Risk Management Branch

Anonymous said...

As I said from the very beginning this was a "rigged event" with the dirty parties on all sides taking a coordinated dive at the same time.

So after seven years nothing has happened with the exception of the BC public purse once again being looted by our beautiful media declared elites.

And what will the gutless and useless leader of the NDP do? Well she will go home and change here diaper!


Anonymous said...

From Steve Dockeray
Milner BC

Once again we see one set of Laws for Politicians , Business People & the RCMP Brass & another set of Laws for the rest of us !

1)Why would the Crown offer a Plea Deal & Stay the Charges on aneal Basi - right before the Crown & the Defense were to bring in the BIG HITTER Witnesses ?

2)Are we to believe that Dave Basi ( Aide to finance Minister ) did not know that his Cousin Jas Bains was a big time Cocaine dealer ?

3) If the NDP was in Power & an aide to the Finance Minister was the Cousin of a big time Hells Angels Cocaine Dealer - would the coverage have changed ?

4) Let us not forget that several people involved in the drug Deals , were hived off into different Lower mainland Courts ie: Why not one large Trial , Considering they were all part of the same scam ?

5) Why would they wait so long to Try Jas bains on Cocaine charges & why was it not reported by any BC Media outlets - Eventually Ian Mulgrew wrote a story about it , but shortly after it was Posted on Line the Vancouver Sun pulled the story off it's web-site ?

6)Why would Justice Dohm retire with a 200 grand Pension just before the case restarted again ( not that long ago )

7)How many reporters like Keith Baldry keep in touch with people charged with crimes - does it happen with Hells Angels or the UN Gang or the red scorpions or Asian triads etc. ?: People claim Basi is an angel yet his fingers were in ledge raid , Bribes around ALR & other scams

8) Let us not forget that Gordon Campbell slowed down the case by refusing to release Documents - In Fact it was the Judge who had to pursue legal means to get Campbell to Disclose information ( Gordo needed to delay the case till after the last election etc.

steve dockeray
milner bc

Ole said...

I find it very strange that a deal has been worked out after a week's recess, (ostensibly to shorten the witness list), and at the point where the defence clearly had the Crown (read government) on the run. Somebody panicked at the idea of Gary Collins getting up on the witness stand. Hmmmm... wonder how much Campbell paid to buy off the defendants.

Dave-O said...

de Jong don't know nuttin' Kash Heed the Solicitor General will put things right tomorrow.

I can't fathom the RCMP folding like a deck of cards, listen guys we know the Liberals been pulling your chain with your contract renewal BUT to state your satisfied with the outcome 'Throw us a Bone' for Chris's sake.

The people of BC would not let the BC Liberals set up their own Cop Shop...we might be stupid but we are not BC Liberals lackies, like you know...YOU!

Anonymous said...

Interesting, too, that the guilty plea was entered on the day when the raunchy colonel's guilty plea and salacious photos were sure to dominate the media, even in BC.

BC Rail Poll said...

Should British Columbians Have A Public Inquiry In Relation To The Sale Of B.C. Rail?
Simple Poll Here

bcrail girl said...

Looks like 'organised crime' has crept out of the corners of BC., and is now all over Canada!
*Ontario wants to privitize the TTC?!

Sorry can't thank anyone yet.
When the best is yet to come!

Good thing I've got my breast plate on!

Anonymous said...

Can you now release what you learned in the earlier stages that was under a publication ban?

Anonymous said...

What about the special deals with the crowns witness EB?
Are those charges dropped?

cherylb said...

And now hearing rumours that the RCMP are pushing to have the evidence quickly destroyed. WTH? Has everyone gone nuts on the West Coast?

Anonymous said...

Money laundering?
That's how to handle the legal bill!

Hey, and with a guilty plea, as if you knew all along, don't you void the need of defense?

Ed Seedhouse said...

If Basi & Virk took bribes, then someone offered those bribes. Isn't that a criminal offense?

Who offered the bribes and why haven't they been charged? Or have they?

Anonymous said...

To all those who are wondering who made the call to approve "THE DEAL" we can thank Vaughn Palmer for this note from today's column: Against that backdrop came last week's recommendation to Attorney-General Mike de Jong to let the defendants in the case off the hook for their outstanding legal bills, estimated to be in the millions of dollars.

This would indicate that the Special Prosecutor was being economical-with-the-truth when he told the Judge he was trimming the witness list last week.

VP's information also shows that BC Attorney General Mike de Jong maliciously lied when he said he had no involvement in "THE DEAL" to free the BC Liberal insiders.

As Michael Smyth noted: Back when the former NDP premier (Glen Clark) was facing corruption charges in the 1990s, the government paid for his massive legal fees, too. And Campbell insisted the government would pursue Clark for the money if he was found guilty.

"I'm not planning any changes to that policy," said a defiant Campbell.

If Clark was guilty, the government was going to shake him down for every dime. Clark was eventually found not guilty.

But when the government's own insiders plead guilty, they walk away with taxpayers picking up the bill.

Anonymous said...

Gordo is quoted on CBC:

But on Tuesday the premier dismissed calls for an inquiry and said the public has already spent millions of dollars on the case.

"I think the questions always are around what those two individuals did and whether or not they acted criminally. We know today that they did act criminally," he said.

Campbell called Basi and Virk criminals who are to blame for the costly trial.

"They've spent the last seven years claiming to be innocent when they knew they were guilty, costing taxpayers literally millions of dollars, when they they knew they were guilty," said Campbell.

There you have it.

Did someone just fart?

Anonymous said...

Campbell's liberal government paid millions of taxpayers dollars to keep the truth from the general public. I'm sure the taxpayers don't mind paying a few million more to uncover the truth.
We Canadians don't need or want people like Basi and Virk anywhere near a government building. That would include Heed.As long as Sihota is president of the NDP we won"t be volunteering for them
nor will we be going to the ballot box..
James popularity is running around 34%. The NDP is around 49%
If James is still running the show at election time they will drop to around 30%, Maybe lower.
Basi and Virk will be getting millions of dollars under the table from corporations they helped That is how the corrupt free enterprise system works.
If a whistleblower exposed Basi and Virk he or she would go to jail and they would get a bonus.

Anonymous said...

Many boxes of what could be incriminating evidence in the Basi Virk BC rail deal were removed
from the parliament buildings in Victoria Do the mounties keep these records for future governments? Surely they alone don't decide.

Bob said...

I'm tired of the law adjusting sentences based on one's personal obligations.

First Allison Cooney in Nanaimo gets off easy for reported reasons including that she is a mother of four.

Now this with Basi and Virk...

"Basi and Virk both have no previous criminal record and each has a young family."

Who cares if one has no children or fifty's still a crime. Sure you feel sorry for the kids but these criminals should have thought about their families before they committed the crime.