NEW Democrats are calling for an Auditor General investigation into all irregular payments at Kwantlen University, including an alleged $18,000 payment to a former president overseen by B.C. Liberal Minister of Advanced Education Amrik Virk when he was the Kwantlen governor most responsible for ensuring compensation rules are followed.
“We need a truly independent investigation by the Auditor General because the premier refuses to hold the minister to account for what we know already, that Mr. Virk broke the rules and tried to hide it. He wasn’t just any board member, he was the governor most responsible for ensuring compensation rules were followed and properly disclosed,” said New Democrat Advanced Education Critic David Eby. “Premier Clark is more interested in damage control than getting to the bottom of just how far the minister’s inappropriate conduct went.
“We repeatedly asked that the investigation overseen by the B.C. Liberals include evidence of an $18,000 pay-off to the former president of Kwantlen University, yet it was not examined in the report at all due to the premier’s own narrow terms of the investigation.”
Documents obtained by New Democrats suggest that former Kwantlen president John McKendry requested an $18,000 payment that he was not entitled to upon leaving Kwantlen university. A letter was drafted refusing the request, but emails suggest it may have been held back because the president could be a “key witness” in a lawsuit involving the university.
“The public deserves answers about whether the Minister of Advanced Education was involved in giving away $18,000 of public money in exchange for favourable testimony in a court of law,” said Eby.
Eby also noted that the author of the government report into executive compensation at Kwantlen noted there were larger questions that he was not able to investigate because of his narrow mandate.
“It’s time for a full accounting of wrong-doing at Kwantlen University that examines the role played by the Minister of Advanced Education in irregular payments and misuse of tax dollars,” said Eby. “I’m hopeful that the Auditor General will agree.”