Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta, has asked Nigeria-born Justice Minister and Solicitor General, Kaycee Madu, to step back from ministerial duties following reports he called Edmonton’s police chief after receiving a distracted driving ticket.
A newspaper had earlier reported how Madu pulled over on March 10, 2021 and was fined $300 for being on his cellphone in a school zone.
Soon after, he called Edmonton police Chief, Dale McFee, to discuss the ticket.
It was confirmed through court records Madu was issued a ticket for operating a vehicle while using a cellphone and paid the $300 fine two days later.
In a statement, Madu said on the morning of March 10, he was pulled over by an Edmonton police officer, who alleged he was driving while on his phone.
Madu said he disagreed, and that his phone was in his pocket. Madu later spoke to 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,” he said.
“I also raised concerns around profiling of racial minorities that was in the media at the time.”
Madu said McFee assured him that was not the case.
“To be abundantly clear, at no point did I request that the ticket be rescinded. I would never do that. However, in that particular call, I regret raising the issue at all with the Chief McFee,” Madu said, adding he paid the ticket in full.
Edmonton police spokeswoman Cheryl Sheppard also confirmed McFee received a phone call from Madu in relation to the ticket on March 10.
In a series of tweets late Monday, Kenney said he spoke to Madu about the incident, and said it is “essential the independent administration of justice is maintained.”
“That’s why 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,” Kenney said.
He has asked Madu to step back from his ministerial duties, and Energy Minister Sonya Savage will act as Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.