Niagara Regional Police Chief Jeff McGuire says the probe into the findings of a Niagara Region audit report of the Burgoyne Bridge project will be now handed over to the OPP.
In June 2016, the Niagara Regional Police Service took on the responsibility of working with Deloitte to investigate allegations of improper activities surrounding procurement and contract awarding issues for the Burgoyne Bridge Replacement and to determine if there was any criminal activity identified. In accordance with the Provincial legislation that governs policing in Ontario; the Police Service Act, this investigation was put in the hands of the NRPS.
On Wednesday, February 22, 2017, the NRPS investigator assigned to the investigation; Detective Sergeant Paul Spiridi and the Office of the Chief of Police received the revised Deloitte final report from legal counsel for the Regional Municipality of Niagara (RMON).
On Thursday, February 23, 2017, the Police Services Board (PSB) passed a motion requesting that the Chief of Police request the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and/or Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to be asked to take over the investigation due to alleged involvement of RMON staff.
Chief Jeff McGuire (pictured, left) said “I have carefully reviewed the request. I want to be very clear that I have every confidence in the skills and abilities of the NRPS and in particular Detective Sergeant Paul Spiridi and that I do not believe there is a conflict that would prevent the NRPS from conducting a full, fair and impartial investigation into this matter. That said, I concede that it is possible that due to the amount of public attention this matter is receiving, a perception of conflict may be held by some. For that reason and after thorough consideration, I will accede to the request made of me by the PSB and under section 9(6) of the Police Service Act I will make a request to Commissioner Vince Hawkes asking that the OPP assume responsibility of this investigation. Upon hearing back from Commissioner Hawkes I will advise the Police Services Board.”
Regional council began its inquiry into the bridge project last year. The project started with an estimated cost of $59 million dollars and in the end went over $90 million.
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