New PBCN Chief Promises Thorough TLE Investigation
Wednesday, November 30, 2005 at 15:30
The new chief of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation is promising to get to the bottom of the disappearance of millions of dollars in band Treaty Land Entitlement money.
Harold Linklater says the previous band administration didn’t handle that file well, and he says he will likely ask the RCMP to investigate — if they haven’t started to already.
Linklater says band members want to put this matter behind them, but there will have to be a proper investigation for that to happen.
A total of $3.7 million in unauthorized withdrawals were made from a band TLE account in a four-month period just prior to the PBCN general election earlier this year.
The account was virtually emptied, even though the band’s TLE trustees had previously ordered account activity to be frozen.
Former chief Ron Michel promised an audit, but didn’t deliver one, and has indicated to reporters that he wants to put the matter behind him.
Whatever comes of the investigation, Linklater says band members are going to have to come to grips that that money will likely never be recovered.
Linklater is a long-time housing coordinator with the band, and says the housing crisis on PBCN communities will have to be addressed.
He notes the band is almost ready to emerge out of third-party management, after being placed under remedial management in 2000.
Linklater says the band’s debt has almost been erased, and he anticipates the transition to co-management will be made in March.