News November 8, 2007

Legislative Assembly to recover payment of allowances from former Tu Nedhe Member Bobby Villeneuve

(Yellowknife) November 8, 2007 – The Board of Management of the Legislative Assembly has directed that $76,874 in allowances and benefits paid to former Tu Nedhe MLA Bobby Villeneuve during the 15th Legislative Assembly be repaid.

In reaching its decision, the Board relied upon the conclusions of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, Mr. Gerald Gerrand, Q.C., regarding a complaint filed against Mr. Villeneuve. The complaint, made by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the Honourable Paul Delorey, in August 2007 alleged that Mr. Villeneuve swore an inaccurate Statutory Declaration of Residence for the purpose of obtaining payment of allowances and indemnities not otherwise available to him. Mr. Gerrand’s investigation came to the following conclusion:

My investigation indicates to me that the place of residence of Mr. Villeneuve is Yellowknife, that this has been his place of residence since he was elected, and that Statutory Declarations completed by Mr. Villeneuve indicating otherwise are not factually correct.

The Board also relied upon an independent audit initiated by the Legislative Assembly in July of 2007 that concluded that Mr. Villeneuve spent only 132 of a possible 1,316 days during the 15th Legislative Assembly in his constituency.

“The Board of Management will act quickly to recover the allowances and benefits paid to Mr. Villeneuve,” stated Speaker Delorey. “Towards this end, entitlements such as Mr. Villeneuve’s transition allowance, valued at just over $29,000, will not be paid to him but rather set off against the debt now owed to the Legislative Assembly.”

The Legislative Assembly had previously recovered $10,106 from Mr. Villeneuve after he filed a revised Statutory Declaration of Residence in February 2007 indicating Yellowknife as his ordinary place of residence since October 2006. The remaining balance is now payable to the Government of the Northwest Territories’ Consolidated Revenue Fund.

“This decision demonstrates the Board of Management’s commitment to hold itself and all MLAs to the highest standards of public trust and accountability,” noted Speaker Delorey. “Members of the Legislative Assembly must always err on the side of maintaining public trust and confidence in the Assembly as an institution and of Members individually.”

For more information contact

Paul Delorey, Speaker
Legislative Assembly of the NWT
P: 867-669-2234 or 1-800-661-0784
F: 867-873-0273
E: paul_delorey@gov.nt.ca

Tim Mercer, Clerk
Legislative Assembly of the NWT
P: 867-669-2299 or 1-800-661-0784
F: 867-873-0432
Email: tim_mercer@gov.nt.ca