OPP not laying charges in ORNGE air ambulance case
2018-02-08 from thestar.com
The Ontario Provincial Police has “insufficient evidence” to lay charges in the ORNGE air ambulance scandal, following a six year investigative probe of kickbacks.
“The lack of accountability and transparency in the (ORNGE) business records, the variance in perspectives and the lack of cooperation of key persons involved collectively has prevented an evidence-based finding from being made,” the force says in a detailed investigative summary.
ORNGE is the province’s government-funded air ambulance system. A series of Star stories on financial and safety irregularities with the vital service led to a complete overhaul of the agency in 2012. Top bosses including Dr. Chris Mazza, the president, were shown the door and a new board of directors was brought in. The OPP began an investigation in February 2012 focusing on allegations that the Italian company that supplied $144 million in helicopters was overpaid by ORNGE, and $4.7 million was flowed back to a company controlled by Mazza.
In a lengthy document the OPP released Thursday morning, huge portions dealing with what investigators turned up are blacked out. In some cases they refer to the cost increase from the original purchase price of the helicopters to a new, higher price.
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