A fortune in legal fees after embezzlement
The CIUSSS de l'Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal spent $312 520 $ in attorneys for litigation involving one of her executives whom she suspected of embezzling over $400 000 $ of public funds.
After more than 18 months of delays, the establishment finally responded to a request for access to information from the Bureau of Inquiry.
We learn that the CIUSSS disbursed $88 319 in legal costs against one of its former executives, Magdi Kamel, who worked at the St. Mary's Hospital Center.
The establishment blamed among other things to Kamel for having “fraudulently been reimbursed for personal expenses unrelated to the activities [of the hospital]”.
Kamel was director of the Center hospitalier de St. Mary, in Montreal.
The CIUSSS also paid $225,000 to prevent the public from being informed of the details of the alleged fraud. He fought all the way to the Supreme Court to prevent the Bureau of Investigation from getting his hands on a forensic report detailing the scheme put in place by Kamel.
The former executive allegedly embezzled a total of $416,000 between 2009 and 2015. He even had certain purchases delivered to his residence or that of his spouse.
< p>In 2016, after discovering the pot of roses, the CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île went to court to force Magdi Kamel to reimburse approximately $512,000. In particular, he obtained a seizure before judgment on his luxurious house in Kirkland, which was then on sale for $879,000.
The house he owned at the time, in Kirkland, was seized by the Montreal West Island CIUSSS.
At the time, Magdi Kamel was the assistant director and supply coordinator at the CIUSSS. He resigned a few months before the start of legal proceedings against him.
However, all the steps were taken behind closed doors, that is to say that they were inaccessible to the public and to journalists.
The Investigation Office had to take steps to several months to obtain the information presented to the court and reveal the details of what was alleged against Kamel. In the meantime, the establishment and its former executive have reached an out-of-court settlement.
They challenged in court the request for the report of the forensic accounting firm PwC to be made public. which detailed the schemes used by Kamel.
Report kept secret
After four years of litigation, the Supreme Court finally rejected the request in a split decision of four judges against three. The majority judges considered that the lawyers must in particular remain in control of the documents filed in the case.
The other magistrates, including the chief justice, viewed the dissemination of the report favorably and maintained that the question of the publicity of the proceedings should have been taken into consideration.
The forensic accounting report will therefore remain secret forever.
In 2017, the hospital claimed to have informed the Permanent Unit anti-corruption (UPAC) about the file. To date, no charges have been brought against Magdi Kamel.
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