The former Lieutenant-Governor Lise Thibault returns to court Monday, February 7.
Credits: JEAN-FRANCOIS DESGAGNES/QMI AGENCY
QUEBEC CITY - Former Quebec lieutenant governor Lise Thibault will go to trial for allegedly defrauding taxpayers of more than $700,000 during her 10-year mandate.
Judge Michel Auger made the ruling Tuesday at the Quebec City courthouse. She faces six counts of fraud breach of trust and fabrication of false documents.
The federal and provincial auditors general blasted Thibault for allegedly using expense accounts for an array of personal items.
The federal report showed Thibault double-billed the federal and provincial governments to the tune of $129,000.
A total of more than $1.7 million was paid out to the former Quebec viceroy between April 1997 and March 2007.
About $1 million was spent on official duties while the rest went to expenses already covered by the Quebec government or for activities not related to official duties, the audit found.
On some of Thibault's travel claims, the only agenda item listed was golf or skiing.
Among the receipts that raised eyebrows are those for a $59,000 garden party, a $30,000 Christmas party and bills for three different meals that were had simultaneously at three different restaurants.
Thibault has publicly stated that she considered herself to be on the job 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and she continued to defend herself on Tuesday.
"I regret the decision of the court ... because I have always acted in good faith and worked in the interests of Quebecers and Canadians," she told reporters at the courthouse.
"One day I will write my autobiography so that citizens will know how this person who had the courage to get into political life had to pay a price."
Thibault is due back in court on May 28 when a date will be set for her jury trial. She was accompanied Tuesday by her bodyguard and boyfriend, Guy Hamelin.
Quebec is suing Hamelin for $21,000, alleging that he billed the province for unauthorized overtime while he went out golfing.