RCMP won’t pursue investigations into 2012 Health Ministry firings

The RCMP says it will not investigate allegations of a privacy breach and contract-award irregularities related to the Health Ministry’s pharmaceutical services division.

The determination came after the RCMP reviewed a report by B.C.’s comptroller general into alleged irregularities in the awarding of drug research contracts in the Health Ministry in 2012

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The comptroller general’s report was referred to the RCMP for review in April. The government did not suspect there was any criminal wrongdoing.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong has directed government staff to prepare a report for public release as soon as possible — unless there are legal impediments — while protecting people’s privacy under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

The report, which is about 100 pages long, is expected to be released in a few weeks.

The comptroller general’s report reviewed only financial matters concerning allegations of irregularities around such things as the awarding and procurement of contracts.

It did not look at the human resources issues involved in the investigation and firing of seven Health Ministry employees and one contractor.

The government has since apologized for the mishandling of that investigation and most of the firings.

Emails released this month through a freedom of information request showed that contrary to what the Health Ministry said in September 2012, the RCMP never investigated the findings of the government’s internal probe into allegations of privacy breaches, inappropriate contracting and data management.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

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