A report examining the financials of the Northern Village of Pinehouse is recommending a full audit of expenses from 2013 to 2017.
“We recommend that a full (i.e. 100%) forensic compliance review of expenses be completed to identify potential non-compliant items. We also recommend GOS [Government of Saskatchewan] consider expanding the forensic compliance review into prior years, as potential non-compliant transactions may exist prior to the Period of Review included in this report,” stated the report made public Wednesday.
“In light of this, the Ministry of Government Relations may consider extending the forensic audit to include the period 2013 to 2017.”
The violations are considered under the Northern Municipalities Act.
The report examined financial transactions for the 2018 calendar year and found of the $5.2 million allocated to Pinehouse, $518,098 were non-compliant, $2,439,375 was not properly authorized and $293,668 was undeterminable.
Yet despite the findings and recommendations Government Relations Minister Lori Carr said there is no need to further examine the financial of Pinehouse.
“No, I think that one of the things that are important to note here is that there was no wrongdoing, there was no evidence of fraudulent behavior on the amount of time they did the audit. So, going back would just be redundant,” Carr said.
In 2017, Mayor Mike Natomagan earned $160,900. $86,499 coming from his work with Pinehouse Business North, $40,933 from the Northern Village of Pinehouse, $20,466 in expenses and $1000 a month from both entities.
“Of the Mayor’s total remuneration the Auditors concluded that $61,400 was in compliant with the NMA,” the report noted.
The Auditors determined that Natomagan’s paid work for Pinehouse Business North was a violation. He has since informed the provincial government that he is no longer being remunerated by PBN.
Councilor Conrad Misponas was mentioned in the report for having worked as Chairperson of the Pinehouse Housing Corporation where he earned $80,000 plus expenses. The report found that a majority of Misponas earning were in contravention of the NMA.
Carr confirmed that Misponas is no longer being paid by the PHC.
Similar concerns were raised with Councilors Walter Smith and Betty Anne Durocher, which found a majority of their income, was deemed non-compliant with the NMA.
Yet a government spokesperson said “going forward, the village must ensure all financial activities (including those of its controlled corporations) are properly accounted for within the village’s financial statements, and reviewed by the village’s auditor.”
“We’re calling on the Minister of Government Relations to act immediately on the five recommendations from the September 2019 inspection. In particular, a full forensic compliance review of expenses is essential, including for previous years. Of the expenses examined, only eight per cent were found to be fully compliant with the law,” said NDP Critic David Forbes.
(Photo: Pinehouse Mayor Mike Natomagan.)