Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Simple explanation for missing receipts: Grewal (CTV)

From CTV:

Embattled B.C. MP Gurmant Grewal says there's a simple explanation why no receipts were issued for some political donations to his election campaign.

"I have done everything above board, I can open my accounts," he told CTV News Vancouver on Tuesday.

Grewal said he hosted a 2003 fundraising dinner at a Surrey banquet hall and endorsed the cheques over to the banquet hall's owners to pay for the dinner, which cost between $8,000 and $10,000.

However, the banquet hall's owners have refused to verify Grewal's story.

But Grewal said the numbers on the back of the cheque should show they went to the hall.

Nevertheless, the RCMP is investigating the situation to see if any laws were broken.

Grewal noted that in 2003, he wasn't required to issue receipts. "If there was a requirement, I would have been very happy to issue a receipt," he said.

CTV New Vancouver's Renu Bakshi said Elections Canada told her the rules changed in 2004, when receipts of acknowledgement had to be issued, but not necessarily income tax receipts.

"Only contributions made to a candidate in an election after he or she has been confirmed a candidate by a returning officer are eligible for income tax receipts," she said.

Grewal said he was not a confirmed candidate when the cheques were written.

Grewal, first elected as a Reform MP for Surrey Central in 1997 (he now represents Newton-North Delta), blamed the situation on an attempt to discredit him by supporters of federal Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh.

"I have nothing against Gurmant, he's a friend of mine, said Sarup Mann, who says he wrote Grewal a cheque for $600 and never got a receipt.

But he is also on the executive of the Liberal Party's Vancouver South riding association, Dosanjh's riding.

While Mann said he just wants a receipt for his donation, Jaspal Atwal -- who wrote Grewal a $500 cheque -- took a harder line: "I think he should resign."

Grewal said he has no plans to leave politics, and believes his name will be cleared in both this case and the taping scandal from mid-May.

Last month, Ethics Commissioner Bernard Shapiro cleared Grewal over allegations he asked constituents to post bonds in exchange for help with temporary visas.

Grewal went on stress leave in early June. He is still on it.