Henvey Inlet First Nation Responds to Charity Revocation

HENVEY INLET FN, May 12 /CNW/ - Wayne McQuabbie, Chief of Henvey Inlet First Nation, said today that his community is "pleased and relieved" that Canada Revenue Agency has revoked the charitable status of the Henvey Inlet First Nation Community Support Organization (HIFNCSO). "We think this revocation is going to help us in our lawsuit against that organization," he added.

Chief McQuabbie indicated Canada Revenue Agency had provided the First Nation with a report on HIFNCSO's operations last year. "Some of the information revealed in the CRA audit absolutely astounded us. We thought the charity had received a few hundred dollars, donated to help our sports teams buy equipment. The audit report alleges the charity maintained secret bank accounts in Toronto and Winnipeg, and it appears millions of dollars in so-called "donations" were funneled through those accounts and disappeared. Our First Nation was kept in the dark about the workings of the organization, which was run out of Winnipeg," he said.

Henvey Inlet First Nation has been co-operating fully with Canada Revenue Agency in its inquiry into the financial operations of the charity. "One of the first things I found when I took office in 2007," said the Chief, "was a suspicious book of tax receipts. When I started adding those receipts up, I knew we weren't talking about a few hundred dollars anymore." The Chief started an internal enquiry which resulted in boxes of documents being turned over to Canada Revenue Agency. A fantastic scheme involving tax loopholes, hundreds of wealthy off-reserve tax-payers, off-shore banks and millions in receipted donations gradually came to light.

"What did not come to light," said the Chief, "was where the millions are now. Our community never saw a penny of it." The First Nation has commenced a legal proceeding against the former trustees of the charity for an accounting for all the money it handled.

"I want to emphasize, and I am sure that First Nations people know this, that this issue didn't originate in this community, and it doesn't reflect on the character of the Band or its Members. We have operated in a completely open and transparent fashion. The results of the CRA Audit and the facts about what that charity was doing have been given to our members through community meetings and Band Council Meetings, as it became available."

The decision to launch a civil law suit against the charity's trustees was made after extensive consideration and advice from forensic auditors, lawyers and accountants. The former Trustees HIFNCSO have been removed. "For many of the trustees, it appears their only mistake was trusting an outside advisor who insinuated his influence into many levels of this community," Chief McQuabbie emphasized.

The Band is incorporating a new corporate entity to carry out future charitable activities in the community and will seek a new charitable registration . "Like most small First Nations, we are overwhelmed with managing poverty. We have several legitimate ventures at various stages of development to create economic self sufficiency. We want to stand on our own without charity and without Government," Chief McQuabbie stated.

More information on this issue can be found at www.hifn.ca

SOURCE Anishinabek Nation

For further information: For further information: Wayne McQuabbie, (705) 857-2331

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