Four Mounties who were charged in connection with the Surrey Six murder probe have been paid roughly $1 million combined since being suspended from the force, CTV News has learned.

Sgt. David Attew, Sgt. Derek Brassington, Cpl. Paul Johnston and Cpl. Danny Michaud were investigated after allegations arose that Brassington had slept with a witness in the 2007 case.

Further concerns about their conduct eventually led to a combined 20 criminal charges against the officers, including breach of trust, obstruction of justice, fraud and compromising the safety of a witness.

They were suspended in 2010, but remain on the payroll years later – a situation Jordan Bateman of the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation says is appalling.

“It’s been a waste of taxpayers’ money from the beginning. The fact that we are paying people accused of a crime to sit at home or run other businesses is shocking,” Bateman said.

The Surrey Six murders were committed in a high-rise apartment unit in October 2007. Two innocent bystanders, 22-year-old Chris Mohan and 55-year-old Ed Schellenberg, were among the victims.

Both Brassington and Attew have been charged with claiming false expenses and overtime while probing the case, while Johnston and Michaud are accused of trying to cover for them.

Last year, Attew purchased the X-Club Fitness gym in Port Coquitlam – but continues to receive his RCMP salary of about $90,000. Brassington now works in the construction industry.

CTV News recently caught up with the head of the RCMP, Commissioner Bob Paulson, who said he could not speak to the specifics of the case.

“I understand the public interest in all of our matters of discipline and conduct. And I think we’re moving the yard sticks going forward to try and get a system and a process that’s fair to the members, fair to the organization and ultimately fair to the public,” he said.

Paulson has previously promised changes in the force’s disciplinary system, which he says is outdated, but so far the process remains the same.

None of the suspended Mounties CTV News tracked down agreed to speak about the charges against them.

Their trial isn’t scheduled to get underway until September 2013.

Paulson said he has yet to decide whether the RCMP will pay for their legal counsel.

UPDATE: CTV News has learned that the gym was sold last week, and is no longer under Attew’s ownership.

With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Lisa Rossington