The OPP has found “insufficient evidence” to lay charges to ORNGE Air Ambulance, following a six-year investigation.
The OPP began their international investigation into the company in February 2012, focusing on allegations that an Italian company – who supplied $144 million in helicopters – was overpaid by ORNGE, and $4.7 million flowed back into a company controlled by Chris Mazza – former president of ORNGE Air Ambulance.
The OPP’s investigative team acquired and reviewed over 41 gigabytes of information, more than 97,000 documents, more than 500,000 email communications and interviews of 58 people in Canada, the United States and Italy. The investigation required 1,789 hours of time and cost slightly less than $250,000.
The Government of Canada’s forensic accounting agency described ORNGE’s corporate structure as “artificial complexity.” Ontario NDP Finance critic John Vanthof was not impressed by the investigation.
“The waste and deceit at ORNGE is a reminder of the fact that this Liberal government, like the Conservatives before them, would rather invest in private, for-profit companies than the services that matter to Ontario families. When private profit is at the heart of political decision making, instead of public good, the people of Ontario lose. In this case, the people of Ontario lost a billion dollars, given by the Liberals to executives at ORNGE, with no oversight, and no transparency. Ontarians deserve better.”
The investigation came at the request of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The OPP is mandated to investigate possible criminal activities in governments or agencies of government, including fraud, breach of trust, theft and misappropriation of funds.
ORNGE is Ontario’s government-funded air ambulance system.
For more information:
Opposition shocked by evidence in ORNGE report