APTN National News
A Rolling River First Nation official took home nearly $200,000 in ‘unsupported or ineligible’ payments for travel, sundry, and ‘admin fees’ according to an audit obtained by APTN National News.
In early May Ernst & Young completed a forensic audit of Rolling River First Nation (RRFN) for the period from Apr. 1, 2009 until Dec. 31, 2014.
The audit found $865,627 in possibly unsupported or ineligible payments for the audit period.
The audit found that RRFN’s financial administration “lacked appropriate oversight, financial controls, policies and procedures.”
According to the document, Ernst & Young found signatories on cheques were sometimes also payees, a single bank account was used for all revenue, and some salaries, holiday pay, and bonuses were overpaid or undocumented.
Money earmarked for post-secondary education was also targeted, with almost $25,000 in ineligible or unsupported payments.
Many payments made in the category of ‘admin fees’ did not have any accompanying approvals.
One individual took over $122,000 in admin fees.
Because of the single bank account, auditors in some instances, had difficulty determining whether funds were sourced from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada or from the band.
Many expenditures that may be ineligible were called Band Support Funding (BSF).
Ernst & Young wrote “due to co-mingling of INAC and band source funds, we were unable to determine which funds were used to cover deficits in BSF as such INAC funds earmarked for other programs may have been used to cover them.”
In another document obtained by APTN National News, Rolling River First Nation seems to have established laws around financial administration including stringent requirements on bank accounts and payments.
The document was signed by council on October 9, 2014, well ahead of the audits release.
APTN National News reached out to Rolling River First Nation officials but did not receive a response before publication.