Sunday, November 25, 2007

OTTAWA -- Amid reports that he may be charged under the Elections Act for matters dating back to the 2004 election, MP Wajid Khan is "stepping aside" from the Conservative Party caucus.

"The decision was made following media reports that he may be charged under the Elections Act over matters dating back to the 2004 election, when he ran as a candidate for the Liberal Party," a news release issued late Friday from Khan's office said.

Charges were filed in court earlier this month against Khan. He is accused of violating the Elections Canada Act by allegedly overspending during the 2004 federal campaign.

"Although I have not yet been served with court documents, given the circumstances, I am withdrawing from the Conservative caucus to sit as an independent MP," Khan said in the statement. "I have also offered the Prime Minister my resignation as his Special Advisor for Middle Eastern and South Asian Affairs."

Khan said he would continue to sit as an indepedent MP.

The charge was filed in court Nov. 15 after getting the required approval from the Director of Public Prosecutions, after an investigation by the Elections Commissioner.

Khan ran as a Liberal Party candidate in 2004 and 2006, but crossed the floor in January 2007 to sit as a Conservative party member. He is alleged to have exceeded allowable spending by 40 per cent.

"In the 2004 campaign, Wajid Khan is accused of overspending his limit for campaign expenses and making a campaign expense by someone other than an official agent," Dan Brien of the Public Prosecutions Service of Canada told CTV News.

There are charges filed against: Khan, Khalid Sagheer, and Khan's auto dealership, Dufferin Mazda.

The Globe and Mail's Campbell Clark told CTV Newsnet that it's relatively rare in Canada to see charges laid for overspending.

Khan could face up to five years in jail if he's found guilty of the charges.

While the charges have been filed in court, Khan's lawyer said earlier Friday the MP has not been served with any papers.

"Contrary to the news reports, Mr. Khan was not charged with any offences today. To be clear Mr. Khan has not been served with any process or summons in relation to any Elections Act charges," Scott K. Fenton wrote in a statement to CTV News.

The Mississauga MP was elected as a Liberal candidate twice, in 2004 and 2006. He took a position as a special adviser on Middle East issues to Prime Minister Stephen Harper before crossing the floor and joining the Conservatives last January.

Khan has been a controversial member of Parliament, refusing to make public a report he wrote while visiting the Middle East.


Post a Comment

<< Home