Nishnawbe-Aski Nation Issues Statement on Kashechewan RCMP Investigation

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The Thunder Bay Court House was seen by some as a solution for downtown Fort William

The Thunder Bay Court House was seen by some as a solution for downtown Fort WilliamKASHECHEWAN FIRST NATION / Thunder Bay – Joe Crupi appeared in court in Thunder Bay on Wednesday. Facing charges for a number of issues, related to what the RCMP state is the misappropriation of $1.2 million in funds from Kashechewan First Nation, Crupi was released after posting a $75,000 surety. His next court date is October 11th.

The allegations have echoed across Northwestern Ontario. Kashechewan First Nation Chief Leo Friday and Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler have released the following statements after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have laid charges against Giuseppe Crupi, of Thunder Bay, for misappropriation of federal funding for a breakfast program for children in the remote community.

“We are aware of the charges against Joe Crupi, but we will not comment on the specifics of an ongoing criminal investigation. Chief and Council of Kashechewan First Nation remain vigilant in protecting our community and our members from any conduct that harms its interests. To this extent, we will continue to assist and fully support the authorities in this and any other matters,” said Kashechewan First Nation Chief Leo Friday.

In a news release issued Tuesday, the RCMP allege that between 2007-2012 Giuseppe (Joe) Crupi fraudulently obtained for Kashechewan First Nation over $1.2 million from the National Child Benefit Reinvestment (NCBR) Program. The RCMP also alleges that Crupi misappropriated from Kashechewan approximately $694,000 for his personal use in 2008, 2009 and 2012.

“Our First Nation is being punished twice: once by theft and the other by the Government of Canada withholding funds for lack of reporting on missing funds. Co-managers are forced on First Nations to assist with fiscal accountability and reporting. We pay for these professionals, and when they don’t do their job – or worse – we are the ones punished. We are encouraged by the willingness of the federal government to work with us, but we are being held hostage without much-needed services as funds are withheld due to the actions of others,” said Chief Friday.

NAN supports Kashechewan Chief and Council looks to the appropriate authorities to ensure that those responsible for the misappropriation of funds are held accountable. NAN will work with Chief and Council to ensure that any and all misappropriated funding is returned to the community as quickly as possible.

“We are appalled that someone who was entrusted to support the daily management of Kashechewan First Nation is facing criminal charges for the misappropriation of funds meant to provide breakfast for children in this impoverished community. It is an unconscionable act under any circumstance, and especially for a community like Kashechewan where resources for children are so desperately needed,” said Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler.