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UCP probe clears Calgary candidate of allegations from nomination race

EDMONTON — The United Conservative party has cleared Calgary−East candidate Peter Singh of allegations of fraud and bribery in his nomination race, saying there is no proof to support the accusations.

Party lawyer Steven Dollansky notes that of the three complainants, one couldn’t be reached, the second declined to participate in the probe and the third said he was a relative of a losing candidate and had no proof.

“There is insufficient evidence to substantiate the allegations made against Mr. Singh,” Dollansky wrote in a report he submitted to the party this week and obtained by The Canadian Press.

Singh could not be immediately reached for comment Saturday but has always called the accusations false and rooted in dissatisfaction from those who lost in the nomination race.

UCP spokesman Matt Solberg said in a statement that the party takes the integrity of its nomination events seriously.

“The allegations made regarding the nomination event in Calgary−East deserved a thorough and judicious inquiry and we are confident that the incident investigation led by the party’s legal counsel met this standard.

“The party looks forward to working with Mr. Singh as our United Conservative candidate in Calgary−East.”

Singh, who runs a Calgary auto repair shop, won the Calgary−East nomination last Nov. 3, defeating rivals Andre Chabot, Matthew Dirk, Jamie Lall and Issa Moussa.

He won on the third round with his nearest competitor more than 300 votes behind.

During the nomination contest one UCP member went to the party executive with accusations that Singh had used her credit card without her knowledge to sign her up to a party membership. In December those same concerns were aired to the media in published reports.

The UCP found no proof from their records that this had occurred and asked the complainant to provide evidence, but she did not.

Dollansky wrote that the accuser “was contacted during the course of this investigation and indicated that she believed her credit card was charged for a UCP membership by Mr. Singh’s business.”

“(She) also indicated her preference not to be involved in the matter further and declined to provide any records evidencing the charge.”

After Singh won the nomination, the unsuccessful candidates co−signed a letter alleging Singh or those acting on his behalf “provided inducements,” including cash, to support his nomination.

To support those accusations they provided sworn affidavits by two men who said they were approached with such inducements.

Of those two accusers, one could not be reached by investigators despite repeated calls.

The other, Dollansky noted, “advised he is a relative of one of the unsuccessful candidates” and said the individuals who approached him offering inducements “did not have any literature or identification indicating they were acting on behalf of the Singh campaign.”

During the party’s investigation, Alberta’s NDP caucus asked Calgary police to get involved, noting there were allegations of criminal behaviour.

Police however declined, saying they can’t act until someone directly involved files a complaint.