Nfld. & Labrador

Auditor lists concerns about Innu company finances

The auditor for an embattled Innu development company has added his voice to the chorus of people concerned about the company's financial practices.
The auditor for the Innu Development Limited Partnership has many concerns.

The auditor for an embattled Innu development company has added his voice to the chorus of people concerned about the company's financial practices. 

A letter, written by auditor Paul Coombs of the accounting firm Gardner Coombs Winsor Coombs and obtained by CBC, highlighted 14 matters he thought the Innu Development Limited Partnership should be handling differently.

The letter, dated Sept. 16, 2011, was for the year that ended on March 31, 2011, and outlined lack of supporting documentation as a general problem for the IDLP.

Specific concerns included $72,000 loaned to employees without approval and without repayment plans.  Bonuses were also paid to employees and board members, but were not recorded in board minutes. 

The letter also said donations were a "significant" expenditure for the company, and went on to say "there is no indication that donations are approved by the board, nor could we find adequate supporting documentation for some of the donations made."

Financial officer sacked from company

The chief financial officer of the IDLP, who was responsible for the company's bookkeeping, was recently fired along with CEO Paul Rich.

Rich was under fire for being paid over $1 million in salary over two years.

The chief financial officer was drawing an annual salary of $250,000.

The chiefs of two Innu communities, Natuashish and Sheshatshui, were paid $35,000 annually for sitting on the board of the IDLP, in addition to their chiefs' salary.

RCMP in Sheshatshiu said a complaint was made to them about the company's financial matters,  and police have collected some information, but they don't have enough to do a full scale investigation.

That sort of information would come from a forensic audit, which would have to be requested by the IDLP. 

No current or former staff or board members of the IDLP have responded to requests for interviews. Innu political leaders have also remained silent on the company's issues.