Nova Scotia

Shubenacadie First Nation releases audit after funds mismanaged

The chief and council of the Shubenacadie First Nation have decided to release the full forensic audit into mismanaged band funds as it tries to recover close to $800,000 that went missing between 2009 and 2012.

Chief says releasing audit will be open and unbiased

The chief and council of the Shubenacadie First Nation have decided to release the full forensic audit into mismanaged band funds as it tries to recover close to $800,000 that went missing between 2009 and 2012.

Until now, the band — known as Sipekne'katik ​— has only made public parts of the report completed last year.

Chief Rufus Copage said the forensic audit and accompanying invoices make up approximately 15,000 pages.

"It's just being open and transparent, right? We're not trying to point fingers at anybody," he said.

"We just want to present it to our band members in an unbiased manner."

One of the areas examined in the report is payments to Jeffrey Hayes — the band's director of finance who was fired in January 2012. It questions a total of $790,000 paid to him and two companies — Amcrest Management Inc. and MRJJ Management Inc.

According to the report, Hayes owns Amcrest and is a shareholder with MRJJ Management.

The audit also examines what it calls "questionable" payments to Michael Sack, a band councillor who also provided contracting and construction services to the band.

Copage, who became chief in 2012 and is reoffering in this fall's election, said council is releasing the full document because people want to see it for themselves.

"Band members have only been going by hearsay," he said.

"They read something in the newspaper but as for the forensic audit, nobody has ever seen anything about it. They've heard about it and that's about it and so for them to see it, that's going to be the first time actually seeing it."

Following an earlier audit, Hayes was charged with breach of trust, theft over $5,000, fraud over $5,000 and possession of property obtained by crime.

Sack faces possession of property obtained by crime charges and making a false statement under oath with the intent to mislead.

None of the allegations has been proven in court. Their cases continue this fall.

CBC News was unable to reach Hayes. Sack hung up when contacted by phone.

This spring, the band provided the forensic audit completed by consulting firm MNP to the RCMP. It has not said whether additional charges are pending.

MNP said its job was made more difficult by incomplete banking information and gaps in the band's record keeping that were so bad council had little or no control over financial affairs.

The band says it has since put stricter controls in place.

The summary of the report has been posted to the Sipekne'katik band's website.

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