THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler says the defrauding of a breakfast program in Kashechewan First Nation by a Thunder Bay consultant raises alarm about the Government of Canada’s process for appointing third-party and co-management in First Nation communities:
In a statement issued by NAN, the Grand Chief says, “I am disgusted that Kashechewan was robbed by someone entrusted by the federal government to support the daily management of their community. This was an unconscionable act, and we hope that the harshest possible sentence may serve as a deterrent for anyone daring to seek personal gain at the expense of our communities. For years we have raised issues about the imposition of co-management and third-party management with the federal government. It is about time they take this seriously. We will work with Chief and Council to ensure that all funding is returned by those held responsible, or re-allocated by federal agencies.”
The statement comes following the news that Giuseppe (Joe) Crupi, who was appointed co-manager of Kashechewan, pleaded guilty earlier this month to two counts of fraud over $5,000. A sentencing hearing is set for January 12, 2018.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police laid charges against Crupi in September 2016 for fraudulently obtaining more than $1.2 million from the National Child Benefit Reinvestment Program between 2007-2012, and misappropriating nearly $700,000 for personal use.
This case raises alarm over the Government of Canada’s process for imposing third-party management on First Nations. NAN will address this at the Assembly of First Nations next month.