The Ontario government is suing a private company accused of diverting and misappropriating money allocated towards one of Canada’s most impoverished First Nations communities.
The lawsuit also states that Health Canada repeatedly renewed its contract with the company despite being under investigation by both the government and the RCMP over concerns raised about fraudulently managed funds intended for the Kashechewan First Nation.
Giuseppe Crupi is one of the two brothers who’s been named in the lawsuit and has been charged with eight counts of fraud and laundering money stemming from crime. Crupi was also charged for fraudulently obtaining and misappropriating $1.2 million meant to feed over 400 elementary children.
Another lawsuit filed on Oct. 2 by Health Canada against Crupi and his brother, alleges another $1.4 million in Health Canada funds, including undocumented payments to companies run by the brothers and “Christmas bonuses,” paid by funds designated for Kashechewan.
After this story has come to light, the federal government has promised to tighten qualifications and improve the monitoring of companies tasked with managing the funds of First Nations communities.
The office of Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott said a comprehensive review of how the government funds First Nations is already underway, and it intends to overhaul the regime governing what happens when a reserve goes into default.
The overall goal of the government’s review, expected to be completed by the end of the year, is to build capacity for Indigenous groups to manage their own affairs. Thoppil cited a pilot project that gives the First Nations Financial Management Board, a not-for-profit First Nations group, funding to work with reserves to get them back on their feet, rather than appointing a third-party manager.
Read both stories over at The National Post.