Transport Quebec corruption documents not yet public

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Quebec transport department controversy
WATCH ABOVE: What's really going on at Quebec's transport ministry? As Global's Raquel Fletcher reports, the head of UPAC is trying to shed light on corruption allegations in the department – Jun 3, 2016

QUEBEC CITY –  Quebec’s opposition parties want to know what’s really been going on at Transport Quebec.

The opposition have been demanding to see the reports potentially documenting corruption at the ministry. Friday, the head of the province’s anti-corruption squad testified at a legislative committee to shed some light on the scandal, but he did it behind closed doors.

“It’s important to investigate the ministry of transport because we are talking about billions of dollars of contracts,” said PQ MNA, Martine Ouellet.

The Parti Quebecois said Friday’s National Assembly hearing was the first step to getting to the bottom of corruption allegations plaguing Transport Quebec for the last couple of weeks. The claims are that they gave contracts to former employees and circumvented bidding rules.

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However, it’s unlikely things will get much clearer for the public any time soon: the hearing was closed to media.

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The PQ has accused the government – and the minister – of hiding facts, but the facts we do know don’t paint a pretty picture.

First, investigator Annie Trudel alleged she was “sabotaged” in her attempt to look into how the ministry was awarding contracts. She also said documents that were attributed to her have been falsified or modified.

“The documents are now in the hands of UPAC,” said Carole Poirier, the Public Administration Committee President. “The resolution we adopted before is to have an appointment with Mr. Lafreniere to have access to the documents.”

The UPAC boss, called in to try to shine a light on what’s true, also said the documents should be kept confidential. The opposition disagrees.

“Most of these documents are not sensitive, so if that’s the case, they should be made public,” said Ouellet.

First, committee members will comb through the piles of information they received on a USB key.

“We’re talking about 2563 documents,” explained Coalition Avenir Quebec MNA, Eric Caire.

Annie Trudel will also appear before the committee next week, where she’ll be asked about what documents may have been altered. In the meantime, UPAC will continue more than 10 investigations into corruption in the transport ministry.

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