No evidence of Guergis wrongdoing: PI
Derrick Snowdy testifies before House of Commons committee
Derrick Snowdy, the Toronto-based private investigator involved in the Guergis-Jaffer political affair, said Wednesday that he had no incriminating evidence regarding former cabinet minister Helena Guergis.
"I have nothing — I have no evidence, or no information, with respect to conduct of Ms. Guergis in my possession or knowledge," he said.
Snowdy made the statement during testimony before the House of Commons government operations committee in Ottawa. The committee is looking into the government's green fund and whether former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer and his busines partner lobbied the government for contracts without registering as lobbyists.
Snowdy said he brought information to the Conservatives after learning of a business relationship between Jaffer and Nazim Gillani, a Toronto businessman also at the centre of lobbying allegations against Jaffer. Snowdy described Gillani as someone who made his money through "serial fraud."
Snowdy told CBC News in April that he had been hired to investigate Gillani by a group of investors who suspected he was defrauding them.
He told the committee that he had seen Gillani dining with Guergis and Jaffer in Toronto, and became concerned about possible entanglements.
"Mr. Jaffer is Mr. Gillani's business partner. They are in a business relationship. So this is an issue of optics," Snowdy testified.
"When the minister for the status of women is dining in a restaurant with a man awaiting trial on serious crimes and with a history of serious criminal activity, and an escort ... given the recent attention she had received, you tell me how would the Hill here have responded to that photograph or that video showing up?"
After Snowdy's information was passed on to the Conservative Party, Guergis was bounced from cabinet and the Tory caucus.
Harper announced Guergis's resignation on April 9, saying he had received "serious allegations" about her from a credible source and he had forwarded them to the RCMP.
Snowdy also claimed that Liberal Party president Alfred Apps, a lawyer who works at the law firm Fasken Martineau, represented Gillani, describing him as the "getaway driver" for his client.
"Mr. Apps was trying to distance himself from Mr. Gillani for a while but he was in full knowledge of Mr. Gillani's business activities."
In a statement, Fasken Martineau said that Apps did meet with Gillani in 2006, received documents from him, and accepted a retainer cheque, but that Apps had had no acquaintaince with him prior to that.
The statement said that shortly after the meeting, the law firm declined to act on Gillani's behalf and returned the retainer to him.
Gillani, in an interview with CBC News, said Apps represented him for only nine or 10 days before he referred the file to another law firm.
"I am telling you that I have had no other relationship with Mr. Apps. And it's completely out of whack that Mr. Snowdy would say that there is some sort of an underhanded relationship that exists between myself and Mr. Apps."
Gillani said that everything Snowdy said at the committee hearing was hearsay, and challenged him to provide real proof.
Earlier, in his opening statement, Snowdy had described himself as "an unwilling participant in this little drama."