Kaycee Madu, Nigeria-born Canadian justice minister, suspended over traffic ticket scandal

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The Premier of the Canadian province of Alberta, Jason Kenney has suspended his Justice Minister, Kaycee Madu over alleged attempted obstruction of justice.

Madu became a household name in Nigeria in 2020 after he was appointed as the Justice Minister and Solicitor-General of Alberta, becoming the first black man to occupy either Provincial or Federal Justice positions of the Justice Minister, Attorney General or Solicitor General in the history of Canada.

On March 10, 2021, Madu, who is the Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Edmonton-South West, was pulled over by police and issued a ticket for distracted driving.

After the ticket was issued, the Edmonton Police Service said, the minister called the police chief Dale McFee to express “concerns about the context of the traffic stop”.

He did not ask for the ticket to be rescinded, a police spokesperson stated.

However, controversy soon ensued over the intent of the call, as many Canadians demanded an investigation.

Taking to Twitter on Monday, Alberta premier Kenney said he had asked the minister to “step back” from his duties pending the outcome of an independent review.

“I will appoint a respected independent investigator to review the relevant facts and to determine whether there was interference in the administration of justice in this case.

“In the interim period, I have asked Minister Madu to step back from his ministerial duties.

“(Energy) Minister Sonya Savage will act as Minister of Justice and Solicitor General during Minister Madu’s leave of absence,” Kenney wrote.

In a statement, Madu said he regretted calling the police chief after the ticket was issued.

“The officer indicated that he had observed me driving while distracted, alleging that I was on my phone.

“I disagreed, stating that I was not on my phone, as it was in an inside pocket.

“Later, I spoke to Chief Dale McFee.

“Due to the timing of the incident, I wanted to ensure that I was not being unlawfully surveilled following the controversy surrounding the Lethbridge Police Service. I also raised concerns around profiling of racial minorities that was in the media at the time.”

At that time, a review into Lethbridge police conduct in 2017 was being prepared after reports of unlawful surveillance of NDP MLA Shannon Phillips, the then environment minister, CTV reported.

Madu said that the police chief assured him that nothing of the sort happened.

“To be abundantly clear, at no point did I request that the ticket be rescinded. I would never do that,” Madu’s statement further read.

“However, in that particular call, I regret raising the issue at all with the Chief McFee.

“I paid the ticket fully and promptly. I have the utmost respect for our men and women in uniform, and for the invaluable, often thankless role they perform.”

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