26 August 2007

Accused former legislature financial officer missing

Update [1200 hrs] : vocm.com is reporting that Murray was located at 3: 00 AM Sunday. No furthers details were reported by cbc.ca/nl or The Telegram.

The former financial officer accused in the multi-million dollar House of Assembly spending scandal is reportedly missing and police are seeking public help in locating the missing man.

Bill Murray has not been seen since Friday.
The RNC was asking for the public’s help with information about Murray’s whereabouts or his vehicle, described as a red 2005 Pontiac Montana with the licence plate HKP 544.

He’s described as 53 years old, five-foot-nine, 210 pounds, balding with grey hair on the sides, and with blue eyes.

He was reportedly last seen leaving his St. John’s home, wearing a long-sleeved denim shirt, light blue jeans and white sneakers. Murray was reported missing by his family.
In June, around the time of the anniversary of the scandal breaking, the provincial government announced it was launching a civil action against Murray seeking repayment of an undisclosed portion of the $4.0 million allegedly misspent.

The government's claim was based on the highly contentious allegation that Murray "signed or approved virtually 100% of the [constituency allowance] claims and sent them for processing and payment, and in doing so, was in reckless disregard for the limits." The claim is highly contentious since no action has yet been field against anyone else involved.

A report by Chief Justice Derek Green - received by government before the action against Murray - discusses responsibility for the scandal in a wider context, although Green did not address the role any individuals played nor did he address the issue of potential civil or criminal liability.

So far, two of five former members of the legislature are facing criminal charges over alleged misspending in the House of Assembly and police are reportedly continuing their investigations.

Murray is not facing criminal charges at this point.

No civil actions have been commenced against any of the former politicians named thus far.

The amounts that the police and the province's Auditor General alleges are involved are substantially less that the total overspending that did occur in the legislature between 1998 and 2006, as reported by Bond Papers last year in August and December and by the Green report this year.