Who axed IIGET?

Who made the controversial decision to shutdown the province's anti-illegal gaming enforcement team? In October, Rich Coleman told reporters he did. Later, the gaming minister explained he only meant to take "responsibility for that decision" - which was actually made by the team's consultative board. But internal documents obtained to-date by Public Eye suggest the board may have had little involvement in disbanding IIGET. Here's why: for starters, that decision was supposedly made on February 18, 2009. But the board's last minuted meeting happened on January 26, 2009. And those minutes don't record any discussion about disbanding the team. Although its members did discuss "the uncertainty of future funding for IIGET." Then, there's the email that was sent on February 18, to the gaming policy and enforcement branch's general manager Derek Sturko.

"Did iiget get the funding or not?," wrote Larry Vander Graaf, executive director of the branch's investigations and regional operations division.

"No, but we have not yet advised them," replied Mr. Sturko, who was also a member of the consultative board.

He then went on to add the director of the ministry of public safety and solicitor general's police services division Kevin Begg "will advise the RCMP and let me know when he's done so. Until then, the decision is confidential."

But the commander of the force's British Columbia division was a member of the consultative board. So Mr. Begg shouldn't have needed to advise the RCMP of that decision unless the board hadn't made it.

Then, a month later, another civil servant asked Mr. Sturko whether "the Board and OIC of IIGET" needed to be told of the team's status.

The response: "IIGET is being discontinued. The IIGET Board knows," later adding in a separate email, "I think they all know. Certainly Dick Bent does" - a reference to the RCMP's deputy criminal operations officer in British Columbia.

But if the team's board had made that decision in February, why would there be any uncertainty about its members knowing IIGET was being disbanded?

These are the questions we had for Minister Coleman when we spoke to him earlier this month in his office.

His response: "The minister doesn't deal with everybody else's emails. So what Derek is writing to one person or this person is writing to that one is never an issue for me...I don't get into the minutiae of the little discussion going back and forth. And I can't speak for those guys little minutiae of discussions. I just know for me it was, it wasn't working, looked at the budget, got the board decision, shut it down."

The minister later stated that while the consultative board may have recommended shutting down IIGET, he was responsible for executing that decision.

The following is a complete copy of the aforementioned records.

Emails concerning the closure of the integrated illegal gaming enforcement team

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