Chilliwack MLA John Martin speaks to reporters in Victoria Thursday about the termination of his constituency assistant after the discovery of misappropriated funds.

Chilliwack MLA John Martin’s constituency assistant fired after admitting to misappropriating money

A 'profoundly disappointed' Martin tells reporters funds discovered missing during implementation of new system

Chilliwack MLA John Martin announced Thursday he had fired an employee after discovering tens of thousands of dollars missing from his constituency office bank account.

“I’m profoundly disappointed in what has happened as I believe we have an obligation to wisely manage taxpayer money,” Martin told the Progress via telephone from Victoria.

Before that call Martin addressed reporters at the B.C. legislature about the incident. He read from a script and said he was unable to go into details as the matter is now in the hands of the Chilliwack RCMP.

What Martin did say was that the legislative assembly is changing the way taxpayer funds are distributed.

“In the process of implementing the new system I became aware that money from my constituency account may have been inappropriately used.”

Reporters present said Martin was visibly upset as he announced the termination of his constituency assistant, who is a long-time employee.

Martin said he met with the employee who admitted he had misappropriated the funds.

“That person’s employment has been terminated,” he said.

Pending charges the Progress is not naming the employee, but Thursday afternoon his Twitter and Facebook profiles were no longer active.

The move to a new system came about for MLA offices after Victoria-Swan Lake MLA Rob Fleming discovered money missing from his constituency office. Fleming’s constituency assistant pleaded guilty to fraud over $5,000 in October 2016.

– with files from Tom Fletcher

paul.henderson@theprogress.com

@PeeJayAitch

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