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AG undaunted by swirling controversy in Martin severance affair


Auditor general Terry Paddon said that he doesn’t think the public controversy and political implications of the Ed Martin severance scandal will affect how he goes about his investigation.

Auditor General Terry Paddon speaks to the media about his report on the controversial Humber Valley Paving contract linked to Frank Coleman, who almost became premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Paddon, speaking to The Telegram Tuesday morning, said he intends to just look at the documentation.

“I’m completely open minded at this point in time, and I’m just looking forward to getting in there and having a look at the documentation, so we’ll see where it leads,” he said.

“I’ll just follow the evidence.”

For weeks, the provincial government has been overwhelmed by the scandal surrounding severance paid to Martin, the outgoing Nalcor CEO.

Martin got $1.4 million after he announced publicly that he was stepping down as CEO, but behind the scenes, the Nalcor board of directors secretly terminated his contract without cause, triggering the severance.

Premier Dwight Ball was involved to some extent, but he insists he was unaware of many of the specifics. On Monday, Martin issued a public statement essentially accusing Ball of lying to the public.

It was over the weekend that Ball drafted an order calling on the auditor general to investigate the whole mess and report on it. Ball said that was based on a report from the Department of Justice which recommended an independent investigation.

But after promising last week to release the Department of Justice report, Ball said Monday the report wouldn’t be released yet.

“We are not interested at all in prejudicing any of the work of the AG,” Ball said. “We will get the information out there when it’s the right time to do it. What’s more important now, people are concerned about this; we want to have a very fair and full process for the AG.”

Paddon was careful to point out that he had not yet seen any documentation from government on anything — he said they’re still drawing up a plan of attack, but when it comes to the public controversy surrounding the scandal, it won’t change how he does his work.

“It’s certainly not going to prejudice me, I don’t think,” Paddon said.

Whether the review will include an investigation of the premier’s office is another question.

Paddon said that he thinks that’ll probably fall into his wheelhouse.

“They’d be a party to this whole thing, so I’d be surprised if I didn’t include them somewhere along the way,” he said.

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