Monday, June 06, 2005

June 6, 2005: The Now: Ethics commissioner looks into Grewal's tapes

Ethics commissioner looks into Grewal's tapes

Ted Colley

Federal ethics commissioner Bernard Shapiro announced Friday his office has launched an official investigation into the Gurmant Grewal secret tape affair.

The investigation will try to determine if the Liberals tried to bribe Grewal or whether he approached the government looking for a payoff in return for crossing the floor.

Grewal denied suggestions by experts his secret recordings of discussions with high-ranking Liberals may have been edited.

Asked if the recordings had been edited in any way, Grewal said, "No."

Several experts engaged by various media outlets to analyze the recordings have concluded that audio irregularities on one of the tapes could be the result of editing.

"It sounds like an audio edit. I'm saying that based on the millions of audio edits I've done," Algonquin College professor and audio engineer Randy Dash said Thursday.

Dash was asked to examine the recordings by CanWest News Service.

Dash's findings were supported by forensic scientist Stevan Pausak who said a gap in a recorded phone conversation between Grewal and Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh could be due to editing.

The recordings are part of several hours worth made secretly by Grewal, who claims he was approached by the Liberals and offered bribes in exchange for his help in heading off a non-confidence vote last month that could have toppled the minority government of Prime Minister Paul Martin.

According to Grewal, Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh and Martin's chief of staff Tim Murphy made the offers.

For their part, the Liberals claim it was Grewal who went to them offering to cross the floor in exchange for plum appointments for he and his MP wife, Nina.

Murphy and Dosanjh are heard on the recordings discussing possible deals with Grewal, but who made the first approach is not revealed.

Grewal said he gave the recordings to the Conservative Party, who copied them to compact discs for translation and transcription.

"It appears that a technical problem occurred during this transfer to CD," the party stated Thursday.

"In two locations on the CD, brief passages of a few seconds each are missing. Mr. Grewal has now posted the complete audio file on his website."

The Conservative said the substance of the conversations have not been significantly altered because of the gaps.

The RCMP has the original recordings, but has yet to announce whether it will launch a criminal investigation, or not.