Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Allegations on Nisga'a Governance found to be without merit by Independent Investigator

A situation which evolved in May of 2019 in the Nass Valley has now been apparently been resolved, after an Independent investigation of allegations against the Nisga'a Lisims Government determined that there was no merit to the themes presented in an email from the then IT manager which had been addressed to over 150 people.

According to the relay of information today, the Email at the time was not authorized by the Nisga'a Lisims Government and had contained allegations of serious misconduct against current and former elected representatives of the Nisg̱a’a Nation, current and former officers, employees of NLG and its consultants, service providers, external legal counsel and others.

At the time the Nisga'a Lisims Government took immediate steps to reduce potential harm by asking all NLG employees to delete the Email and not to share it.

The NLG also obtained an interlocutory injunction restraining the Information Technology Manager from any further distribution and terminated his employment.

The Independent Investigator released a 27 page report, which was reviewed by a Special Committee, following its presentation the report has now been accepted by the Nisga'a Lisims Executive.

Among the findings of the report were:

1) “Almost all of the Allegations are an unreliable combination of fact assumption, inference and rumour” which are “mistaken beliefs” of which the Investigator sought to limit both “spread and acceptance.”

 2) While mistaken, many of the Allegations serve to highlight concerns that the Independent Investigator addressed in his recommendations. These recommendations have been adopted by the Executive.

 3) Problems with NEST reporting stem “largely” from different accounting standards. NLG never faced a potential liability for any amount.

 4) The fisheries payment referenced in the Email was exactly the same as made to other fishermen, just not through Canfisco. The payment was “documented in NLG’S books” and is “the same amount available to other fishermen.”

 5) The former Information Technology Manager “did not act in good faith [or] for legitimate purposes”, made reckless inferences and assumptions, and relied on rumour and innuendo.

 6) There was collusion only to the extent that the former Information Technology Manager was “implicitly encouraged” to express allegations that were based on inaccurate, incomplete or unreliable evidence. There was no collusion in the personal insults, innuendo or scurrilous rumours contained in the Email.'

The  situation was described as one hurtful to the community, in a statement issued today by Juanita Parnell, the elected Urban Representative and Chair of the Special Committee.

“This entire incident was personally hurtful to many people and caused considerable distress and strain on NLG, elected representatives, officers, employees, and some of our consultants, and indeed their families. We are pleased that this thorough and independent investigation has determined that the many allegations made had no basis in fact. 

The Executive recognized, however, that some of the information provided did raise questions and concerns about certain administrative procedures. The independent investigator considered these issues and has made recommendations for correction which we have adopted. This unfortunate incident is now behind us. We can again focus on the important work we need to do to build the future for the Nisg̱a’a people”

As noted above, the report identifies questions on administrative procedures, though the corrective measures were not outlined as part of today's information release, to this point the Nisga'a Lisims Government has provided for any online copy of the full report for review.

You can review the statement here.

For more notes on the Nisga'a Lisims Government see our archive page here.

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