08 January 2007

AG Noseworthy changes rules as he goes

In the most recent accusations under the House of Assembly spending scandal, Auditor General John Noseworthy has once again changed the rules under which he is conducting his review.

In the original four cases, the AG levelled accusations without having completed even the most basic investigations. Each of the four accused met for a handful of minutes - less than 10 for Ed Byrne - and were asked to explain claims without being shown the claims in question. Noseworthy claimed at the time his legislation prevented him from showing the documents to anyone outside his office.

In the second round of accusations, Noseworthy met with the accused member of the House after making the accusations public. Noseworthy only got around to calling the MHA involved after he filed a report.

Now with the double-billers, Noseworthy met with at least one of them, show him the questionable claims and - solely on the basis of that meeting - is now deleting one of the fellows from the report.

In one instance, the member was paid for the same incident based on the receipt and the VISA bill. Why were they filed separately? It could indeed be an innocent clerical error by inexperienced staff.

Then again, it could be something else.

There is no reason to delete anyone from a report.

Rather, by fully disclosing the details, the AG could help us understand what happened.

Unfortunately, we have an AG who is acting as a law unto himself. The rules get made up as Noseworthy likes and, when it gets right down to it, his work seems to fall far short of any reasonable standard of performance by anyone in a comparable position.

Unfair? Unreasonable? Slipshod, even?

Yes. Without a doubt.

And today's revelations just add another straw to the already snapped spine of the camel bearing the calls for a public inquiry into the whole mess.