UPAC's 2nd-in-command steps down amid allegations he recommended dicey stock
Quebec Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux wants to create committee to oversee anti-corruption unit
Marcel Forget, the commissioner in charge of corporate integrity audits at Quebec's anti-corruption unit (UPAC), has stepped down after reportedly trying to sell the stock of a controversial firm in the 1990s.
In a statement, UPAC says the resignation comes in the wake of a report from le Journal de Montréal alleging that Forget received cheques at his office after instructing police officers to buy shares in a Blainville-based company while he was an officer with the Sûreté du Québec.
"Mr. Forget preferred to step down in order not to harm the organization," said UPAC in a statement, adding that Forget had not committed any illegal act.
Several police officers told le Journal de Montréal they bought shares in a controversial company called Newtech, which touted a revolutionary braking system that never came to fruition, through an intermediary, following a recommendation from Forget while he was an SQ police officer.
The events allegedly took place between 1990 and 2000.
Forget, who held his position at UPAC since 2013, is being replaced by Michel Pelletier, an associate commissioner at UPAC.
Quebec Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux welcomed the decision, saying Forget's resignation was "made in the best interests of UPAC and in the line of trust that must exist."
New oversight committee
In the wake of Forget's resignation, Coiteux also announced he plans to create a monitoring committee to oversee UPAC.
The anti-corruption unit has been the subject of scrutiny since it arrested but never charged Liberal MNA and former high-profile police officer Guy Ouellette in late October.
Coiteux said the creation of a supervisory body is necessary because several questions have been raised about UPAC's functions, including how it conducts investigations and the climate in the workplace.
"I wanted to go further because it's very important to reassure the public that investigations conducted by UPAC are done in a way that is rigorous, effective and independent," said Coiteux.
The chair would have a seven-year mandate while the two other members of the committee would have a five-year mandate.
The committee would be in charge of examining UPAC's handling of penal and criminal investigations. The committee would also make recommendations to the government.
As part of its mandate, the committee would also study UPAC's annual general report and "any other question related to the activities" of the unit.
Coiteux said he plans to introduce an amendment to Bill 107 on the independence of the anti-corruption unit soon.
With files from Radio-Canada