RCMP conducts mystery snoop into GNWT
Nobody’s saying anything about a six-month RCMP commercial crime squad investigation involving the GNWT.
Loose lips could jeopardise a six-month old police probe into mysterious allegations of criminal activity within the GNWT.
So it may be a while before the people of the Northwest Territories find out why their government is the subject of an RCMP investigation.
Commercial crime investigators won’t say why they’ve been conducting the probe of GNWT activities since last December.
Staff Sgt. David Bradley of the RCMP’s commerical crimes unit in Edmonton, said police don’t want to place their work at risk.
“Obviously,” said Sgt. Bradley, “we’re not making a press release in the middle of an investigation.”
Since news of the investigation was leaked to media in Yellowknife last week, Sgt. Bradley said his office has been flooded with requests for more information.
The problem is, investigators fear the publicity could alert possible suspects, leading to a cover-up.
“We’re dealing with what is commonly called white-collar crime, pertaining to fraudulent activities, which is a paper examination process, a review of documentation. That’s the type of work that we do and that’s what’s going on in this case.
“The chances of losing some evidence is a distinct possibility. It’s certainly why we can’t release more to the media at this time.”
The source and nature of the complaint against the territorial government remain closely guarded secrets.
Even the government’s top spokesman, Premier Don Morin, admitted no knowledge of the investigation prior to being contacted by reporters last week.
Speculation and tantalizing rumors, meanwhile, have thrived in the absence of hard fact.
On the surface, the case seems large in scope the RCMP’s commercial crimes squad is co-ordinating the investigation from Edmonton, while Yellowknife investigators rummage through government files. But Sgt. Bradley warned against “reading too much into this.”
“Most of our investigations are lengthy and time-consuming,” said Sgt. Bradley, “because of the nature and type of documents that are to be obtained.”
“It’s a long way from any charges being laid,” he added.
Which, incidentally, is another reason police don’t want a lot of attention focused on this investigation.
“To make allegations and to prove them is two different things,” Sgt. Bradley said.
“It puts us on the spot. What if there’s nothing to it? If it ends up being that way, it isn’t fair to the people who are being looked at.”