Update: Walsh gave me cash to break spending limit, Murray testifies

Rob Antle
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A former House of Assembly bureaucrat says then-MHA Jim Walsh gave him cash to put through excess constituency allowance claims.
Bill Murray made the stunning revelation during testimony at provincial court this morning.
Murray told the court he took "approximately" $2,000 in cash from Walsh to approve claims over the MHA's spending limit.
"I never considered it as taking money," Murray said. "I considered it a token of appreciation."
Murray said he received a call from Walsh asking if he could do anything to help out the MHA.
"I said bring down your invoices and I'll see what I can do … It just steamrolled from there."
Murray said he did so because Walsh "needed some extra cash or something."
When the claim was processed, Walsh gave him an envelope stuffed with a couple of hundred dollars in cash, and said "thanks a million," Murray testified.
"That happened a couple of times, but not all the time."
All told, Murray said he received roughly $2,000 from Walsh. He acknowledged previously telling police the figure was closer to $10,000. "I've got a clearer head (now) than I had before," Murray said.
The $2,000 figure did not include things like Christmas gifts from Walsh.
"I got tokens from all of the members at Christmastime."
Crown prosecutor Frances Knickle asked Murray why he put through the claims, even though he knew Walsh had already reached his spending limit.
"I can't tell you the reason why. I just did it. I probably would have done the same for other members who asked me … I did do it for other members."
Walsh - a former Liberal MHA and cabinet minister - is on trial for fraud over $5,000, breach of trust by a public officer and frauds on government. The charges relate to excess claims totalling $159,316 from his taxpayer-funded constituency allowance between 1998 and 2004.
On Tuesday, Murray testified that he filled out every one of the last 46 constituency allowance claims Walsh filed during his final year and a half in politics.
During that time, the total amount of constituency claims paid to Walsh's bank account spiked to roughly triple his published limit.
From the end of April 2002 through Walsh's defeat in the October 2003 general election, Murray completed all of Walsh's claims.
Walsh's constituency spending limit in 2002-03 was $30,500. He filed - and was paid for - claims of more than $92,000, not including HST.
His limit was also $30,500 in 2003-04. Walsh was paid $91,000 that fiscal year, even though he served just six months before his election defeat.
Murray is expected to be on the stand until at least Thursday.

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  • Rick
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    He says ...I did do it for other members . Well, who are they these other members and let's hope that they endure a stay at Her Majesty's pleasure in exchange. This type of graft is appalling! Honest people in all parts of the province are struggling to make ends meet and you have these supposedly Honourable elected representatives of the people handing cash to co-conspiritors in envelopes!!! And Gov't folks wonder why they don't get any respect.

  • Paul
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    To follow on Rick. And now they are looking for a raise.

  • Bob
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Rick from Middle Earth...Respect doesn't mean a row of beans to polititians. All they want and get is HUGE remuneration for their time in office and ride off into the sunset with HUGE pensions while the rest of us suckers struggle.
    Where will Sean Skinner spend his vacation now the Irish thing is shelved...by the Irish, not us.

  • Rick
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    He says ...I did do it for other members . Well, who are they these other members and let's hope that they endure a stay at Her Majesty's pleasure in exchange. This type of graft is appalling! Honest people in all parts of the province are struggling to make ends meet and you have these supposedly Honourable elected representatives of the people handing cash to co-conspiritors in envelopes!!! And Gov't folks wonder why they don't get any respect.

  • Paul
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    To follow on Rick. And now they are looking for a raise.

  • Bob
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    Rick from Middle Earth...Respect doesn't mean a row of beans to polititians. All they want and get is HUGE remuneration for their time in office and ride off into the sunset with HUGE pensions while the rest of us suckers struggle.
    Where will Sean Skinner spend his vacation now the Irish thing is shelved...by the Irish, not us.