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Ex-construction boss set to testify as Quebec corruption inquiry resumes

By: Lia Levesque, The Canadian Press

 | Sep 01, 2014 - 5:46 PM |
Tony Accurso leaves SQ headquarters in Montreal in a April 17, 2012 file photo. Quebec's corruption inquiry is expected to hear from a powerful former construction magnate soon after it resumes Tuesday from its summer break. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Tony Accurso leaves SQ headquarters in Montreal in a April 17, 2012 file photo. Quebec's corruption inquiry is expected to hear from a powerful former construction magnate soon after it resumes Tuesday from its summer break. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Inquiry has been studying Quebec's construction industry since 2011.

 MONTREAL - Quebec's corruption inquiry is expected to hear from a powerful former construction magnate soon after it resumes Tuesday from its summer break.

Tony Accurso, once the owner of several influential Quebec construction companies, is due to appear before the Charbonneau Commission after a failed to attempt to avoid having to testify.

Accurso argued in court that appearing before the high-profile hearings would jeopardize his right to a fair trial in pending criminal proceedings.

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the request last month.

But Accurso indicated last week his lawyer will file a motion for a publication ban, and that request will need to be heard before the commission can move forward.

The inquiry, which has been studying the construction industry and the awarding of public contracts, has already heard from more than 100 witnesses since it came into existence in 2011.

When the hearings were put on hold in June, Justice France Charbonneau had mentioned there would be another "two or three weeks" of testimony before moving to the final stages of the commission.

At that point, the commission will hear recommendations from stakeholder groups.

Some 72 briefs have already been submitted by organizations. The briefs reportedly include arguments for better protection for whistleblowers, improved regulations overseeing the construction industry.

The commission will also hear from experts in the field.

"This part of our work is extremely important, as it will guide us in developing potential solutions in our final report," Charbonneau said at the end of the hearings in June.

A final report from Charbonneau and her co-chair, former provincial auditor general Renaud Lachance, is due by April 2015.

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