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Sting ops: Way of the future

To the editor,

Offering a bribe isn't a real crime (though it's written as one). It becomes real once the other party accepts it. That's robbery of taxpayers' money. Both parties become guilty of conspiracy against the citizens at that moment.

Let's say our city councillors did report these guys at the time. What would happen? Nothing! But taxpayers would pay through the nose for a police investigation and lawyers would get rich arguing "She said, he said." If the developer was smart, he would counter-sue for libel, accusing them of some paranoid grudge and spinning the councillors' reputations as some sort of vengeful parasites on progress. The councillors actually risk serious backlash if these guys aren't found guilty.

Without hard evidence and witnesses, bribes (especially cash ones) can't be prosecuted. We could teach the councillors how to conduct a sting operation to gather evidence. Bug their offices. But I doubt a developer would hang around long to get caught. The councillors did us all a big favour in time and tax dollars by not reporting it!

Still, we have to watch it doesn't happen. External audits and reviews might help.

By Matthew Dubois

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