Canada Revenue Agency has agreed to let one of the people who investigates allegations of fraud and corruption lodged against its auditors take the stand, Prince George businessman Irvin Leroux said Tuesday.
Leroux has launched a civil suit against the CRA and is claiming, in part, that a CRA auditor, who has since died, had offered to resolve his issue in exchange for a $25,000 bribe.
To support the allegation, Leroux's counsel is seeking "similar fact evidence," namely the existence and details of any investigations into CRA employees arising from other such complaints.
During an examination for discovery in June, a lower-ranking CRA official refused to answer questions about such allegations and in response a B.C. Supreme Court master ruled the CRA must provide details of complaints it has received.
The CRA appealed that ruling, arguing in part that the answers and documents Leroux's counsel is seeking are not relevant to the issue at hand. It also said the search for the documents requested would take too long to address for privacy concerns given their relevance to the case.
But in an apparent compromise, the CRA has agreed to let the investigator testify for an hour during an examination for discovery leading up to a 10-day trial, now set for Sept. 20.
Leroux said Tuesday the outcome is better than what he had hoped for.
"Why would you want to speak to a little peon down the line when you've got one of the top people whose job is to investigate the corruption and the extortion at Revenue Canada?" Leroux said.
Leroux is alleging that during a 1996 audit, the CRA, then known as Revenue Canada, removed papers from his office without his consent, then lost or shredded them and then assessed him for almost $1 million in taxes, penalties and interest.
The tax prosecution was eventually resolved with the CRA owing Leroux a refund. However, as a result of the CRAs actions, Leroux says he lost his home, his business - a private campground near Valemount - and his life savings. He is seeking compensation through a lawsuit he filed against the CRA in 2006.