Atcon computer servers handed over to RCMP
PC party bought servers in 2013 when Atcon property was auctioned as part of the company’s bankruptcy
The Progressive Conservative Opposition has handed over several large computer servers to the RCMP, saying they may contain new information about the Atcon scandal.
PC Leader Bruce Fitch and several staffers arrived at the force's headquarters in Fredericton at noon, lugging the large metal servers.
A RCMP officer needed a dolly on wheels to transfer the servers into a secure room for a meeting with Fitch.
Fitch told reporters the PC party bought the servers in 2013 when Atcon property was auctioned as part of the company's bankruptcy.
He refused to say the servers contained any evidence of a crime.
"I didn't use the word criminal," he said, saying that's up to the RCMP.
"We're just providing them with evidence that would be of interest in an investigation."
The previous Liberal government of Shawn Graham approved $50 million in loan guarantees for the Atcon group of companies in 2009. That money was lost when Atcon went bankrupt a year later.
Six of Premier Brian Gallant's ministers were involved in the 2009 decision.
Taxpayers are unlikely to recover the vast majority of the money. Earlier this year, the judge in the bankruptcy case approved payment of $2.7 million to the province after Atcon's shares in Brun-Way Highway Operations Inc. were sold to SNC Lavalin.
Auditor General Kim MacPherson released a scathing report earlier this year that confirmed the Liberal cabinet approved the $50 million despite warnings from civil servants that Atcon was in trouble and that the money would probably be lost.
But the PCs remain convinced there are unanswered questions about what the Atcon companies did with the money and what the Liberals knew about it.
If it was me who had done half of what has been done, I would be in jail.- Marie-Paule Martin
"There could be some interesting information here that needs further scrutiny at this level," Fitch told reporters at the RCMP office.
He said the Tories were turning over the servers to support a complaint about Atcon filed with the RCMP by Shediac-area resident Marie-Paule Martin.
Martin has clashed with Liberal cabinet minister Victor Boudreau over his private investment in a proposed campground in the area. She said her Atcon complaint had nothing to do with that issue.
"If it was me who had done half of what has been done, I would be in jail," Martin told reporters Monday when she joined Fitch at the RCMP office.
Martin said she's not affiliated with the PC party, though she said she was aware of the servers when she filed her complaint.
Boudreau was one of the lead ministers on the Atcon file in the Graham government.
The Tories gave reporters a summary of the Atcon case and the server's history, though they did not release any of the original documents they say they found.
They say there's evidence Atcon knew about the Deh Cho bridge problems when it accepted the $50 million in loan guarantees in 2009.
They also claim there is information about a trust fund set up for the family of Atcon's former CEO, Robbie Tozer, that the government could use to pursue for repayment.
Fitch said the PCs didn't immediately reveal that it bought the servers in July 2013, when the party was still in government, because they wanted to see what the auditor-general would say about Atcon first.
He said in June 2014, the PCs told a law firm representing the province in an Atcon-related lawsuit about the servers.
After MacPherson's audit earlier this year, it became clear the Gallant Liberals didn't want to delve into Atcon any further, Fitch said.
So the PC party hired IT specialists to search the servers. They eventually decided there was so much information that it was better to hand them over to the police, he explained.