Native health agency misspent
[PoliticsWatch updated 5:00 p.m., August 24, 2007]
|Health Canada released a scathing audit this
summer about the spending practices of a Manitoba aboriginal
OTTAWA --In August, Health Canada released an
audit that found a Winnipeg-based native health agency misspent $6.4
The audit found that 11 per cent of the $57 million the Anishinaabe Mino-Ayaawin
(AMA) spent between 1997 and 2005 was questionable.
The audit has been turned over to the RCMP. Health Canada
stopped providing funding to the agency in 2005.
The audit found:
> A number of insufficiently supported payments were made to
chiefs and councils;
> Numerous transactions were recorded as “community expenses”, and for which no
receipts or invoices were available;
> Travel claims that were deemed questionable because no receipts were available, or because the relationship of the travel to delivering health programs was unclear;
> "Finder’s fees” were paid to the CEO of AMA .
The audit said these services were very similar to the services that
the CEO would have been expected to provide as part of his job and
thus "these fees were considered duplicate payments for services and placed the CEO in a conflict of interest situation."
This is the second native health care agency in Manitoba to be
involved in a similar scandal.
In 2005, former public servant Paul Cochrane was charged and
jailed for accepting more than $200,000 in kickbacks in exchange for
allowing $70 million in contracts to flow to the Virginia Fontaine
centre. Cochrane was head of the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch
at Health Canada.
A 2003, Health Canada forensic audit of Virginia Fontaine discovered a number of discrepancies, including payments to board members, no contracts to support payments, no invoices to support payments, little or no evidence of deliverables and unusual transactions occurring after an October 2000 cruise for employees.
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