The federal government is suing a Saskatchewan law firm, alleging lawyers fraudulently over billed for their work with victims of Indian residential schools.

In a statement of claim not yet proven in court, the government says an audit shows the Merchant Law Group claimed tens of millions of dollars in work time entries that were inflated, duplicated or made up.

The suit says some individual lawyers even billed for more than 24 hours of work in a single day.

Tony Merchant says in a statement that the allegations are groundless and the government is avoiding paying its bill.

The Regina-based law firm was one of several that was to receive legal fees after a $5-billion settlement between Ottawa and residential school survivors in 2005.

The firm originally claimed $80 million in fees and the courts ordered the government to pay $25 million until the cost could be verified.

The firm also filed a lawsuit this week demanding the government pay what it owes.

It says the verification process shows the firm should get $15 million on top of the $25 million it previously received.

(The Canadian Press)