The RCMP has launched a criminal investigation of one current MLA and four former members who left the legislature last year.

Auditor general Jacques Lapointe revealed yesterday he had turned five files over to police last week when his forensic audit into MLA spending revealed the five members may have committed illegal acts. But he would not name names.

“We just felt it was self-evident ... that the acts we were looking at were not legal,” Lapointe said yesterday.

The RCMP commercial crime section is now investigating. Details on what illegal acts, when they allegedly happened, and how much money is allegedly involved are all being kept secret as investigators do their work. According to police, it could take years before charges are laid.

As for whether this casts a cloud over all current MLAs, Lapointe said he hopes not.

“If that’s the case, I’m sorry for it. I don’t think that’s right. But there is very little that I can do to offset that. My job is simply to conduct my audit and report my findings, whatever they may be,” he said.

Lapointe said the RCMP urged him to keep the names secret, but he noted all MLAs have the right to presumption of innocence.

Initially, Lapointe was scrutinizing more than five MLAs, but he didn’t end up turning some — he wouldn’t say how many — over to police.

Those who are now under investigation may not even know it. In consultation with RCMP, Lapointe and his staff did not inform the targeted MLAs. But Lapointe said they would probably figure it out since his staff has been calling and asking questions.

“And, frankly, some of them, if we’re right, they’ll know anyway,” he said.

Former Liberal MLA Dave Wilson resigned his seat and hired a lawyer when Lapointe first tried to question him in March. Yesterday, Lapointe confirmed Wilson never did consent to speak with him. Lapointe wouldn’t say if he spoke to Wilson’s lawyer.