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Former fire commissioner charged with fraud

Former Manitoba Fire Commissioner Christopher Jones, right, shown with Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger in file photo.
Former Manitoba Fire Commissioner Christopher Jones, right, shown with Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger in file photo. Government of Manitoba

Manitoba’s former top fire investigator is facing fraud charges.

On Friday, the RCMP said its Financial Integrity Unit laid charges against former Fire Commissioner Christopher Jones, including Breach of Trust by Public Officer, Fraud, Forgery, and Use of a Forged Document. The Mounties say these charges are based on alleged offenses between June 2009 and February 2011.

“The RCMP investigation identified accountable advances and/or expense claims which were believed to have been supported by documents which had been fabricated and or forged,” the RCMP said in a news release.  “The result being that in excess of $55,000.00 was disbursed as unsupported payments with the ultimate beneficiary being the former Fire Commissioner for the Province of Manitoba.”

Christopher Jones was head of the province’s Office of the Fire Commissioner from 2009 to 2011 when he and two other staffers were fired over alleged financial irregularities.

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In 2013 Manitoba’s auditor general issued a scathing report on the OFC, noting more than $300,000 in financial irregularities from April 2007 to July 2011. It also claimed five employees received payments they weren’t entitled to. The report also said documents were fabricated and, in one instance, may have been forged. The findings were forwarded to the RCMP.

None of the allegations has been proven in court. Jones free on conditions and is due in court in Winnipeg on February 26, 2014

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