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May 10, 2017

Senate Chair Refutes Penner’s Application of the Law

Aldo Salazar

The Committee disagreed. Chairman Senator Aldo Salazar told Penner that any questions put to him would not concern any action in court, nor that the Committee was in the process of a criminal investigation or finding because the Committee cannot recommend such except in the case of perjury.  But his assurances were not enough for now, as Penner continued to contend that he felt he should not have to answer such questions but did not rule out answering any at all.

 

Aldo Salazar, Chair, Senate Special Select Committee

“I don’t feel you can pray in aid of that privilege and that it prevents you from having to respond to any of the questions posed to you today related to the Won Hong Kim matter or any other matter which is referred to in the report of the Auditor General, and I will tell you why. In my view, there is one thing which is right in what you said, is that the Legislative Powers and Privileges Ordinance is in force, and you are given privilege as a witness before a court. But that privilege does not extend to refusing to answer any question. And if you would look at the same provisions which I am referring to – the same Ordinance which you referred to, section twelve, it says: “The Committee is empowered to order the attendance of witnesses on any matter or things related to the subject of the inquiry before the Assembly or such Committee, be verified or otherwise ascertained by oral examination of such witnesses; and may cause any such witnesses to be examined upon oath, which the Chairman of the Committee or other person specially appointed for that purpose by the Assembly or the Committee is hereby authorized to administer;” and more pertinent is thirteen, which says that, “Where any person ordered to attend to give evidence or produce any paper, book, record or document before the Assembly, refuses to answer any question that may be put to him, or to produce any such paper, book, record or document on the ground that the same is of a private nature and does not affect the subject of the Inquiry, the Speaker may excuse the answering of such question or production of such paper, book, record or document, or may order the answering or production thereof.” So in my view, the only legitimate reason for you to refuse to answer any question, is whether it is a matter which is not the subject of this inquiry.”

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