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Updated: Wed, 07 Aug 2013 05:12:13 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Wallin expenses audit completed, Senate committee chair says



Wallin expenses audit completed, Senate committee chair says

An independent audit into the expenses of Senator Pamela Wallin has been completed and is being translated for delivery to the Senate's internal economy committee on Monday.

The RCMP, which is investigating the expense claims of three other senators, has not yet requested a copy of the audit, said Senator Gerald Comeau Tuesday in an interview with CBC News.

Comeau, who chairs the Senate committee looking into Wallin's expense claims, said the committee may decide to send the audit on to the RCMP when it meets next week or simply make the report public.

"It depends on what the full committee wants to do with it," Comeau said.

He said the audit will be seen first by a smaller steering committee on Monday morning. Senator Carolyn Stewart-Olsen, who was once Prime Minister Stephen Harper's press secretary, and Liberal Senator George Furey make up the steering committee with Comeau.

This smaller group will receive a briefing from Deloitte auditors in order to craft a report based on the audit's findings. On Monday afternoon, the larger Senate committee on internal economy will meet to receive the audit and a briefing from Deloitte auditors before reconvening Tuesday to receive the steering committee's report.

Comeau said Wallin will have a chance to look at the audit on Monday morning and has been invited to attend both of the committee meetings. "She's not going to be [compelled] to come, but she's welcome to come before the committee. So she's told she's welcome."

Both meetings are expected to be held behind closed doors, but Comeau said he hopes to make the audit and the Senate report public on Tuesday afternoon.

Wallin has already repaid at least $38,000 to the Senate since the audit began. Deloitte has confirmed it examined Wallin's expense claims as well as the nature of her expenses dating back to January 2009, back to when she was first appointed as a senator of Saskatchewan.

Audits and committee reports on senators Patrick Brazeau, Mike Duffy and Mac Harb were tabled by the committee in May. The RCMP has since requested documents from the Senate as part of an investigation into the expense claims. It is also investigating a $90,000 cheque written by Harper's former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, to repay Duffy's expenses.

Comeau said he wants to make sure things are done right but he admits to being relieved the process is almost over.

"I'm glad it's coming to a head one way or the other so we can turn the page on that part of it and proceed from there," he said.

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