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This article was published 6/10/2016 (1454 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
In a rare case before the courts, a Winnipeg man is demanding answers about the Mounties’ investigation into the construction of the city’s police headquarters and fire-paramedic stations.
Michael Kalo, 48, has taken legal action against Canada’s attorney general on behalf of the RCMP. He wants the court to order the national police force to finish its two-year-old investigation of alleged wrongdoing during the construction of the Winnipeg Police Service headquarters at Smith Street and Graham Avenue. In the meantime, he wants the court to order the Mounties to update the public on the investigation’s progress – taxpayers deserve as much, he said.
"There’s a lot of secrecy around it, and I believe in transparency and in the right of the public to know, especially in these circumstances, whereby what is at stake is a lot of taxpayers’ money," Kalo said in an interview.
The RCMP investigation into the $210-million project began in December 2014 after audits were conducted and documents surfaced alleging doctored police HQ invoices and a payment to a member of city council.
The investigation has taken too long without any word from police on its progress, Kalo argues. He took his concerns to court Thursday, where a lawyer for the RCMP said the national police force will be contesting Kalo’s motion. A hearing will be set at a later date.
Before adjourning the matter to allow Kalo to file more supporting documents, Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Sadie Bond noted the rarity of his request, saying it’s "very unusual" to ask the court to supervise a police investigation.
"If the court has no jurisdiction, who has jurisdiction?" Kalo asked. "It’s about public trust of the system."
Kalo said he’s not asking for RCMP to release information that would jeopardize their work, but he believes the police force can safely disclose more than it has up to this point about the state of the investigation.
Katie May reports on courts, crime and justice for the Free Press.
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