Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad
Taloyoak review finds no evidence of fraud

Former finance employee not a suspect

Kerry McCluskey
Northern News Services

Spence Bay (Apr 15/02) - Early results of an audit failed to find any evidence a former hamlet employee broke any laws on the job.

Taloyoak Mayor David Aqqaq said earlier this month that there is no evidence former senior administrator Cecil Matthews contributed to a $478,129 deficit by committing fraud.

Government officials ordered the audit after Matthews pleaded guilty in Alberta to 21 counts of fraud and forgery. He is now serving a prison sentence there.

While a final report will not be issued by accounting firm Mackay-Landau until the middle of May, Aqqaq said Matthews has been cleared as far as criminal activity was concerned in Taloyoak.

"It doesn't appear there was any criminal activity going towards the deficit," said Aqqaq.

"It was all mismanagement of finances ... from a combination of management staff. It was their job and it was not being done properly," he said.

Since the audit was ordered in January, officials from the Department of Community Government and Transportation have been in Taloyoak updating the books and training new hamlet councillors and employees in financial management.

A new senior administrator also landed in the community this month.

Aqqaq said he is relieved to learn money was not stolen.

"It's still hard, but it makes it a little easier to know no criminal activity was involved," he said.

Mike Rafter, the director of finance for the department, welcomed the results and said the next step is to work with the hamlet of Taloyoak on a deficit-elimination plan.

"It will be a made-in- Taloyoak solution," said Rafter.

He added that now that his department is fully staffed, monitoring and evaluation will assume a new level of importance.