Lubicon Lake Band

Lubicon Lake Band

September 09, 2014 10:02 ET

Forensic Audit Shows Former Lubicon Chief Collected $1.5 Million While Community Went Without Running Water

Former leadership spent more than $27.5 million dollars over a six-year period with little sign of benefits or investment in the Lubicon Cree community of Little Buffalo.

LITTLE BUFFALO, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Sept. 9, 2014) - The Lubicon Lake Band Chief and Council are reacting to the results of an MNP LLP forensic audit into the Cree Development Corporation covering the period of March 1, 2006 to February 28, 2012.

The corporation, which was meant to provide economic development for the Lubicon Cree community, was controlled by former Chief Bernard Ominayak and his immediate family and supporters. In a period of just four years, Ominayak and his family paid themselves more than $3.3 million.

"For many years our community has suffered without basic necessities like running water, while a small number of people got rich," said Billy Joe Laboucan, the recently elected Chief of the Lubicon Lake Band. "Dictatorship rule has cost our community tens of millions of dollars and countless opportunities. This is a wake-up call that never again should we allow ourselves to be governed in this way."

The audit shows large sums being paid, including almost $1.5 million spent on financial and credit card payments and nearly $1.2 million on automotive costs. Community members say they do not have access to the cards or vehicles.

An open letter (http://ow.ly/BhcDW) has begun circulating in the community, calling on the former leaders to account for their expenditures and asking the current Chief and Council to hold restorative justice circles in the community.

"We may never know the full extent of what we have lost as a community financially, but we know what we have lost in trust," said Chief Laboucan. "We are hopeful that this will never happen again because our members have seen the truth, they have a voice and they are able to make fully informed decisions. It will take all of us working together to heal and rebuild our community."

The results of the forensic audit can be downloaded here: http://ow.ly/Bhf3X

The open letter can be read here: http://ow.ly/BhcDW

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