Liberal senator claimed 'uninhabitable' home as primary residence, say RCMP

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OTTAWA - RCMP allege former Liberal Senator Mac Harb claimed an “uninhabitable’’ home as his primary residence in what they say was a plan to bilk taxpayers out of tens of thousands of dollars in false living and housing expenses.

The Mounties are investigating Harb over allegations of breach of trust and their case was set out in an affidavit filed in an Ontario court.

The home in question was located in Cobden, Ont., outside of Ottawa, and was purchased in September 2003, roughly three months after he was appointed to the Senate by former prime minister Jean Chretien.

RCMP Cpl. Greg Horton says Harb never lived in the home and that it "was largely uninhabitable for the first three years that he owned it, due to demolition and reconstruction.’’

The purchase of the home, just outside of the 100 kilometres allowed for under Senate expense rules, gave him the ability to claim as much as $22,000 in expenses by claiming it as his primary residence.

The affidavit states that in October 2007 Harb sold 99.99 per cent of the ownership of the Cobden home to Magdalene Teo, who was at the time the Brunei high commissioner to Canada.

Despite almost entirely divesting himself of the property, Harb used his 0.01 per cent of the stake to continue to claim it as his primary residence.

The Senate's board of internal economy, which regulates expenses for members, ordered him to repay $51,482 in living expenses associated with the inappropriate housing claims.

The Senate committee claimed Harb's questionable expenses totalled as $231,649 between 2005 and 2012 — a figure the senator disputes.

He is also fighting the repayment order.

The RCMP is also looking into the expenses of former Conservative senators Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau.

It is investigating the $90,000 bailout of Duffy by Nigel Wright, the prime minister's former chief of staff.

Harb's office has not responded to requests for comment.

Organizations: RCMP, Senate committee

Geographic location: OTTAWA, Cobden, Ontario Brunei Canada

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