Witness tears up at the Charbonneau inquiry

Retired entrepreneur Bahjat Ashkar gets emotional as he tells the Charbonneau commission he forced his wife to sign a cheque for the PRO des Lavallois party

In another development, Jean-Pierre Sauriol leaves Dessau

Retired entrepreneur Bahjat Ashkar (Canadian Press)

Jean-Pierre Sauriol is stepping down from his job as president of one of Quebec's biggest engineering consulting companies, Dessau, as fallout from the Charbonneau commission continues .

Jean-Pierre Sauriol resigned as head of Dessau today. (The Canadian Press/Dessau)

The news of the resignation of the last founding family member at Dessau came as the inquiry into allegations of corruption in the construction industry focused again today on Laval – and heard emotional testimony from retired entrepreneur Bahjat Ashkar.

Ashkar became the first witness to break down and cry while testifying at the inquiry.

He told the commission that Laval’s former mayor, Gilles Vaillancourt, set up and controlled a system of bid-rigging over city infrastructure contracts.

But it was talking about his wife that brought tears to his eyes.

He told the inquiry when a colleague of Vaillancourt’s came to his home, he wrote out a cheque to the then mayor’s party, but his wife didn’t want to .

Ashkar started to cry as he told the inquiry he forced his wife to sign her name on a second cheque.

In the afternoon the commission heard from Claude Vallée who described Vaillancourt as a man who always wanted to dominate.

CBC legal affairs reporter Ivan Slobod talked about the day's developments with Homerun's host Sue Smith: