Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence slams damning audit as a ‘distraction’

- January 7th, 2013

The protesting chief of the Attawapiskat First Nation brushed aside a damning audit as a “distraction” and said the federal government is using it to undermine her credibility ahead of a key meeting this week with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

A new audit of the finances of the beleaguered Attawapiskat First Nation found little or no supporting paperwork for more than $100 million in funds it received over a six-year period ending in 2011.

“There is no evidence of due diligence in the use of public funds, including the use of funds for housing,” Deloitte partner Serge Desroches wrote in the audit which was given to Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence and her band last summer.

Spence is the chief who has been protesting the way the way the federal government treats First Nations by camping out on an island in the Ottawa River near the Parliament buildings and living on nothing but fish broth, water and tea since Dec. 11.

Spence has been in charge of reserve operations as chief since 2010. She was deputy chief from 2007 to 2010. The audit covers spending by the band on housing, health, and other operations between 2005 and 2011.

The independent audit by Deloitte Touche also tweaked the federal government’s nose for inadequate financial controls of the money it gave the band.

The audit was released Monday by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.

Deloitte said more than 400 out of 505 financial transactions between 2005 and 2011 lacked proper documentation.

“An average of 81% of files did not have adequate supporting documents and over 60% had no documentation of the reason for payment,” Deloitte said.

“A controversial … audit is no more than a distraction of the true issue and to discredit Chief Spence who is willing to lay down her life for a larger cause,” said a statement issued by Spence’s supporters.

Journalists were barred from Spence’s camp following the audit’s release and she did not speak to reporters.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan did not speak to reporters, either, but his spokesman said the audit “speaks for itself.”

NDP MP Paul Dewar said the timing of the audit’s release is questionable, but suggested both the First Nations and the feds can both learn from the audit’s recommendations.

Government memos obtained by QMI Agency last year indicate Attawapiskat was dubbed a “high-risk organization” — in part because of its lack of financial paperwork — years before its housing crisis made headlines.

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11 comments

  1. Frank Fata says:

    This chief spence is one real piece of work. I will be shocked if she is not behind prison bars sometime this year. Harper better play hard ball with these charaters because the Canadian tax payers want answers, now !!
    When Harper meets with spence’s counterparts on Friday, he’d better take charge of the meeting. Let them go the UN. Let them squawk all the want, but Harper better stand firm.
    This spence is a real joke. She’s trying to pretend she’s on a hunger strike but she is in reality carried out a weight loss program. And not doing a very job of that either. She’s one piss poor actress with her low monotone voice like, ” I’m really hurting and I’ll hang in there ’til I die. What a farce. Harper, I’m telling you, if you want continued support from your followers, be firm on Friday.

  2. Fred from Brigus says:

    A forensic audit should be performed and appropriate charges laid if any wrong doing uncovered. Remember the $16.00 glass of orange juice that caused Bev Oda to resign. Here we are talking millions. Need accountability to the taxpayers.

  3. James David says:

    We should stop all transfer payments with a due date of, lets say 2030. This gives all our First Nation Peoples time to get an education, a job and contribute like the rest of us Canadians.

  4. Bryce Kulik says:

    i like this guy, very good Frank, People will not shocked at the support that Harper will get, if people could read they would understand that this new Bill will hurt them in the pocket book that is why the idle no more, cause if they dont comply cash no more

  5. Brenda Dottermann says:

    When you give people an inch, EXPECT them to take a mile. It is the way of the world today. No matter what their nationality, race, religion or creed the demands of the materialistic world we live in are far too great for the average human’s nature. That being said, no matter where or to whom our government is doling out millions, there should be a strictly regulated and enforced spending program in place. WITH REGULAR FREQUENT AUDITS! Both are equally to blame! I hope when these two meet they stand firm to their expectations, which should include, solid budgeting proposals and solid audit processes.

  6. Harry Rickard says:

    Top News

    U.S. watchdog finds more Deloitte audit problems

    Tue, Dec 20 19:32 PM EST

    By Sarah N. Lynch and Nanette Byrnes

    (Reuters) – The U.S. audit industry watchdog uncovered numerous deficiencies in an inspection of accounting giant Deloitte & Touche, the latest in a series of negative findings against major accounting firms.

  7. Harry Rickard says:

    … so who are you going to believe?

  8. Darcene Tzachev says:

    The show is not over yet!! I will bet (any takers?) that we will see Spence fainting at the meeting..on the 11th with Harper. Yes fainting from her so called weakened state of fish broth and boost. She will need to be held up by her cronies, as she fumbles and froths. Can they televise this meeting.. I’d watch just to see her put on a show!!

  9. JamesHalifax says:

    Our aboriginal brothers and sisters better wake up and smell the current mood of the non-aboriginal population; you know..the ones who have to pay for all of this crap.

    If what I’m hearing on the “street” is any indication, people, though somewhat sympathetic to the cause, are getting tired of this constant whining very quickly. The fact the courts just made all non-aboriginals responsible for another 600,000 natives and Metis who live off reserve, don’t help matters. Wait til they see THAT bill.

  10. windwolf says:

    I am from chouchching nation reserves, I am ojibway. I heard that Steven Harper is on our ball games. Where is his taxes goes? He stoled few lakes and lands. I support any natives and reserves.
    I wanted to see his proof to get the native childrens supports and educations up in Attawapitt.
    I want to see Harper to wake up and help these natives reserves.
    I think he is bit scared or jealous because native have no license for hunting and fishing..
    I want Harper to accept to give a allows native to use spearing on tyendyinda reserves.
    Where is his own respect?
    if it is not working, I will write a letter to Steve Harper later on after i hear more of news.
    I AM SUPPORTING IDLE NO MORE GROUPS!!!! TILL HARPER GET HIS BALL TO BE STRIKE.
    THANKS FOR UNDERSTANDING ABOUT MY COMMENTS

  11. JamesHalifax says:

    Windwolf,

    Either you are a product of the Reserve educational system and your written comments clearly show why aboriginals are in such a sorry state, or:

    You are a duffus writing comments to try and make Natives look bad.

    In both cases….get some help.

Comments are closed.