Manitoba whistleblower transferred to ‘non-job’ and read novels until retirement

Lawyers for the defunct Crocus Investment Fund are trying to recover funds loaned to the Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball club.

A Manitoba whistleblower claims he had been "virtually under house arrest" for years following a fund scandal he predicted.

Government bureaucrat Jack Dalgliesh warned government officials, including the finance minister, of the certain failure of Crocus Investment Fund in 2000. Only after Crocus crashed in 2004 did information about his earlier warnings surface.

"Everybody in the government knew it was going to blow, everybody who was involved with the file knew it was going to blow, and the NDP government was promoting it 18 months before it blew," Dalgliesh said in an interview with the National Post. "It's unbelievably nuts."

Almost immediately, his superiors pulled him from the Crocus case.

"I obviously was being invited to quit, after 20 years, without severance," he told CBC News. "As you might imagine, I was pretty intimidated — profoundly intimidated — at this point."

[ Related: Mystery whistleblower could reap big award in HP accounting case ]

Dalgliesh was transferred to the Manitoba Information Technology Branch where he was paid more than $90,000 for only 10 days' worth of work a year.

He retired in 2009.

"I was a qualified accountant, so it didn't make any sense for them to warehouse me for four years," he told CBC News. "I mean, I was ready and willing to work."

Colin Craig, prairie director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, commented on Dalgliesh's situation:

"This individual seems to be one of the good ones in government…and the government didn’t like what he had to say so they put him in one of these do-nothing offices."

This week, Dalgliesh spoke publicly for the first time about his life post-Crocus scandal.

In a message released by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, he lists the 156 classic novels he read while "virtually under house arrest, but still on full pay with the government."

"He also found time to learn the stock market, comb through 45 travel books and conduct an in-depth study of world philosophy ranging from the Greek philosopher Socrates to French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre," the National Post reported.

Dalgliesh told the National Post that he's stepping forward now because the same officials who first promoted Crocus are still in government.

[ More Brew: Saskatoon city council 1, local atheist 0: Holiday greeting on buses to stay ]

"You got a briefing note written up for you in 2000, you go into the legislature and basically juice the bloody thing — say it's strong — and then the thing blows up 18 months later and you walk away unscathed," he said.

According to Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger, whistleblower protection legislation was passed in 2006 that now offers anonymous avenues for government employees who identify fraud, maladministration or negative activity.

The legislation came too late for Dalgliesh, who spotted trouble — and caught up on the classics.