‘Creative’ contracts not uncommon for MPs, ministers, says former Duffy aide

OTTAWA — A longtime Parliament Hill aide says it was not unusual for MPs and ministers to pay for services through “creative” contracts or even have outside businesspeople pay.

Diane Scharf was testifying at the trial of Sen. Mike Duffy, who has pleaded not guilty to 31 charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery.

The court has been hearing about how Duffy’s office filled out the paperwork for some of the contested travel, living and office claims submitted to the Senate.

Several charges have to do with $65,000 in research contracts given to Duffy’s friend Gerald Donohue, who in turn made a number of payments to others — including covering Scharf’s office cellphone bill.

Scharf filled in for six months in 2011 as Duffy’s executive assistant, and had previous experience working with a number of MPs, senators, ministers and prime ministers.

Scharf says that if MPs or ministers needed something to get a service paid efficiently, sometimes they would find a back-door way to do it.

The Canadian Press

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