July 23rd, 2024

Chiefs pass resolution reversing course on forensic audit of AFN

By Alessia Passafiume, The Canadian Press on July 9, 2024.

National Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak gives her opening address at the Assembly of First Nations annual general assembly in Montreal, Tuesday, July 9, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christinne Muschi

OTTAWA – The Assembly of First Nations passed an emergency resolution at its general assembly in Montreal Tuesday calling off a forensic audit that had been pushed by former national chief RoseAnne Archibald before she was ousted as national chief last year.

The resolution said the audit of the AFN’s books was “not warranted and should not be undertaken” on the advice of accounting firm BDO which did a review.

Archibald first called for the audit in 2022 as allegations of financial impropriety were levied at the AFN. At the annual general assembly that year chiefs voted in favour of a resolution to audit 10 years of AFN finances with special attention on salaries and contracts.

After she was voted out in June 2023, Archibald said the audit should still go ahead.

In an emergency resolution Tuesday, chiefs voted to cancel it and instead directed the assembly to comply with the Canada Labour Code.

The resolution said the BDO review had focused on three things: severance packages for former employees, contracts and credit cards.

“BDO collected documents to review and conducted interviews with various individuals, including past and present AFN employees and former national chief Archibald,” the resolution says.

As a result of that review, BDO concluded a forensic audit is not recommended, but that the AFN should update its financial policies and enforcement provisions.

The resolution also calls for the AFN to update all of its policies to ensure there are clear processes for contracting procedures and enforcement.

Chiefs also say the organization must impose strict compliance policies on the use of the credit cards it issues. Failure to submit receipts will result in the cancellation of cards, the resolution says.

An amendment that would have required those procedural changes to be completed within one year was voted down.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2024.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly said an amendment was voted down that would have required procedural changes be completed within five years. The amendment would have require the changes within one year.

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