Noah Noah stands outside of the Nunavut Court of Justice after Karima Manji pleaded guilty in the NTI enrollment fraud case. (Photo by Jeff Pelletier)

‘Justice has been served’: Family reacts to guilty plea in Inuit fraud case

Karima Manji fraudulently obtained beneficiary status for twin daughters by claiming they were adopted from Inuk woman

By Jeff Pelletier
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Updated Friday, Feb. 9 at 5:15 p.m.

On a cold, sunny Friday morning in Iqaluit, Noah Noah stepped out of the Nunavut courthouse with a smile on his face.

Just minutes before, Karima Manji — a Toronto woman who enrolled her twins as Nunavut Inuit beneficiaries by falsely claiming they were the daughters of Noah’s late mother, Kitty Noah — pleaded guilty to fraud.

“Justice has been served for my mom,” Noah Noah said of his mother, who died in July.

“She would have been very happy with the outcome.”

Last September, Nunavut RCMP charged Manji and her twin daughters, Amira and Nadya Gill, with two counts each of fraud.

The charges against the twins were withdrawn by Crown prosecutor Sarah White following the reading of an agreed statement of facts in court.

The twins used their NTI beneficiary cards to obtain money from Kakivak Association, an organization that provides scholarships and funding to Baffin Inuit.

They received $158,254.05 between September 2020 and March 2023, according to the agreed statement of facts.

An additional $64,413 was on hold for Amira Gill in the spring of 2023, but was not paid out.

White told the court the twins were “unaware that the (enrolment) cards were fraudulent.”

Manji admitted in the agreed statement of facts to providing fraudulent enrolment information in February 2016 to Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. in order for them to get her daughters Inuit beneficiary status.

In those applications, she claimed the twins were the Inuit children of Kitty Noah.

Manji herself also applied for Inuit enrolment in 2018, but NTI rejected her application.

She and her daughters appeared before Justice Mia Manocchio via videoconference.

The twins’ cameras were turned off during the appearance, but Manji showed her face and appeared to be attentive.

“Ms. Manji is taking full responsibility,” Scott Cowan, her lawyer, told the court.

In March 2023, the twins became the subject of controversy after people raised questions on social media about their Inuit identities, and a business they ran called Kanata Trade Co. 

The company – which had been certified with the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business – sold masks and other clothing items with Indigenous artwork. It promised that profits would go to Indspire, another organization that provides funding to Indigenous students.

NTI removed the twins from its enrolment list in April 2023 following an internal investigation.

Last year, Noah told Nunatsiaq News his family knew Manji from when she briefly lived in Iqaluit and was in a relationship with his father in the 1990s. 

However, he said his family did not know the Gill twins or how they were able to obtain NTI enrolment.

Now, he said he’s just glad to have heard a guilty plea.

“It’s happened pretty quick, considering how slowly our justice system can be, so I’m relieved that way. It didn’t drag on for years,” Noah Noah said Friday.

“[Manji’s] doing one good thing as a mother, I suppose.”

Kakivak Association spokesperson Mariana Barney declined comment.

In a statement Friday afternoon, NTI said it welcomed Manji’s guilty plea.

However, president Aluki Kotierk called it “not acceptable” that charges against the Gill twins were withdrawn, noting they had received funding for their studies based on the belief they were Inuit.

“Colonization consisted largely of the theft of our lands and valuable resources, and this kind of identity theft represents a modern-day iteration of those same colonial practices,” Kotierk said.

This is not Manji’s first fraud conviction.

In 2017, she received a conditional sentence of two years less a day, followed by a one-year probation order in a separate case, according to the agreed statement of facts.

Manji is scheduled to be sentenced on June 24.

Note: This article was updated to include comment from Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.

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(30) Comments:

  1. Posted by Polique on

    I’ve been trying to ask this question from day one, did these sisters KNOW their Inuit identity had been fabricated or not? That’s a critical piece in this, of course Nunatsiaq neither addressed the question nor allow such comments to be posted. I guess as is custom for this publication, drama and intrigue take precedence.

    • Posted by Exactly on

      Exactly. It sure seems like the sisters didn’t know.

    • Posted by alex on

      That is a highly subjective line of questioning though. They never had the ability to ask the twins anything, obviously the twins are not responding to media, and are likely all communicating via their lawyer. This isn’t a question that can be answered objectively, so not sure how you expect a journalist to write about.

      • Posted by Polique on

        Clearly they can not answer the question, but it is important to point out and discuss important unknowns and variables in complex situations one presents to the public.

        • Posted by How it looks from here on

          It’s an obvious question to pose. Not posing it or allowing the question to be posed by the public definitely shows how NN prioritizes drama over information. That’s not exactly news to anyone.

  2. Posted by Article 24 Abuse on

    Excellent. Now let’s look into all the fake Inuit owned businesses as well.

    • Posted by Moceecee on

      Exactly! Especially those Non-Inuit operating “Inuit Businesses” under NNI using Spouse and Inuit Kids Status’s to twist operations to benefit financial and monopolize and the hiring of their extended family’s from outside NU that aren’t Inuit while local Inuit get passed over. During COVID extended families from outside worked while Inuit were told to stay home…only in NU.

    • Posted by Ian on

      Fake Inuit company’s , totally agree and start with these birthright corporations first.

      • Posted by truth on

        How did NTI (and Kakivak) allow this to go through without proper processes and procedures. This is the time to tighten it up and see what they can do. the other problem is the criminal, but there are many so the need to NTI etc to do their work right There will always be scammers. I hope justice is served to all 3 , and whomever else.

        • Posted by This is how on

          Every community has enrolment committee under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. The Iqaluit committee approved their application. The Qikiqtanni Inuit Associations Kivalliq Inuit Associations the Kitikmeot Inuit Associations help run the committees. Who are the committee members that approved this?

  3. Posted by Former MP on

    The former MP would be excellent at investigating the “inukness” of those in questiion.

  4. Posted by Kyle Inusholik on

    I’m dumbfounded on how much they received in school money, I’m lucking if Fans pays me money for food and rent, but yet some how these two where LIVING a Greater life then us real inuks whom struggle to even get through to FANS. Right?

    • Posted by No Nonsense Larry on

      Anyone can apply to Kakivak or various other scholarship organizations, maybe you need to do a bit of research to find out what your eligible to apply to or these orgs need to do a better job of reaching students to their mandate!

      • Posted by Conner Dear on

        I’m sure he applied, like many others, the problem is, they are losing out on scholarships to non-inuit getting these rewards. Like this this story, you cant tell me that there are more just this case. Although this happened awhile back, can people that missed out on these rewards Sue these sister and mother for missing out? and what are the schools doing for these fakes getting educated through a system with false money being rewarded to them?

  5. Posted by Tundramoon on

    Our Land Claims Agreement allows for an inuk to adopt a different ethnic child to hold beneficiary status based on committee approval even if they dont have inuk blood, which means they too are tapping into benefits for inuit even if they are not inuk.

    • Posted by Bryan Vandenbrink on

      While true, we don’t partake in the use of blood quantum, it’s clear from this article that their mother enrolled them fraudulently.

      “Last year, Noah told Nunatsiaq News his family knew Manji from when she briefly lived in Iqaluit and was in a relationship with his father in the 1990s.”

      Simply dating an Inuk for a brief period of time does not mean that all your children forever afterwards are perpetually considered Inuit.

      That’s not how adoption works. If the late Kitty Noah had adopted them, sure. But that didn’t happen.

      Manji (their mother) claimed they were Inuit well after they were born and the Inuit involved had no idea who they were.

      Reminds me of Spaceballs:

      “I am your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate.”

      “What’s that make us?”

      “Absolutely nothing!”

    • Posted by Iqalummiuta on

      Nunavut Agreements will allow other Inuit (Aboriginal ) decent be considered not other ethnic group.

  6. Posted by Kenn Harper on

    So it looks like the twins get off scot-free by having charges withdrawn. That’s a lot of money they received for their educations. Will anyone have to pay it back? Will the sister who had her law degree paid for by Inuit money have her law degree rescinded? The sentencing hearing in June will be interesting. Noah Noah may be satisfied, but it doesn’t look like justice has been served yet. And they wouldn’t have been caught at all without Inuk Barbie on Facebook calling them out, in her war on Pretendians and Pretendimos.

    • Posted by Invesigation on

      The law society will maybe provide some insight as they investigate the sister who was articling. The money was federal funding given to Inuit to administer, NTI et all don’t pay a nickel for these things.

    • Posted by Tulugaq on

      Yes a very interesting case for sentencing. Why charges were dropped is answered in the article: Crown prosecutor White “told the court the twins were “unaware that the (enrolment) cards were fraudulent.”” In criminal law, the prosecutor must not only prove the unlawful action but also the criminal intent, in this case knowing that the enrolment was based on false allegations for the purpose of defrauding the victim. In this case, with the testimony of the mother who admits committing the crime but also saying the daughters were unaware it was based on false statements, there wouldn’t have been a reasonable prospect of conviction, which is the threshold for Crown prosecutors must meet to prosecute charges.

      Given these facts, the Law Society has little grounds to dispute the membership for the one who went to law school since the charges were dropped and she did attend law school and complied successfully with all its obligations. Yet, what about restitution of the moneys fraudulently obtained? If the moneys are paid back before sentencing, that could reduce the severity of the sentence.

  7. Posted by Flabbergasted on

    It’s is time to thoroughly investigate the I uit organization who granted the funds. The person who decided to give this funding, were they Inuit or another race? Why are most of our Inuit Organizations and or businesses being handle by noninuit? It’s as though the Inuit who are in power believe the Inuit are not educated for these positions?
    So sad.

    • Posted by John WP Murphy on

      Perhaps there are no qualified inuit applying for said positions.
      Get an educatiom.

  8. Posted by Lily B on

    I think all indigenous organizations, should have the requirement of asking for a DNA test when people make such claims.
    It is cheaper to get genetic proof done by whatever society or band these folks are applying too, than paying thousands of dollars , that belong to the original people of Turtle island.
    I say this because for many years I believed I was half Chinese. Then one of my daughters gifted me with a DNA test.
    The results showed that I’m 50% Spanish of Jewish ancestry and 40% Navajo and 10% Apache Indian.
    When I told my friend ( an elder) about the results, she told me….we already knew!
    Indigenous organizations need to start protecting their resources, it seems many folks are using a new form of colonization by stealing the indigenous identity in order to profit.

    • Posted by northerner on

      If DNA testing are done, half if not 3/4 of the Inuit will not be registered on the NTI list as most will have more qablunaaq blood in them than Inuk. A 3rd generation inuk who only has a 1 great grandparent who is Inuk is still considered an Inuk. There are a lot of benefits to Inuit, so why not right? Take away the benefits and have everyone on a level playing field, see how many people care to worry about who is on what list. In the case of the mother, playing devil’s advocate here, i think she saw an opportunity for the better for her children so she took it. But she got her hand caught in the cookie jar.

    • Posted by 867 on

      Except the NLCA has essentially banned blood quantum testing for enrolment and instead are basically having people “vouch” for their identity. Hundred years from now who knows what a NLCA beneficiary will look like, and many will likely be less than 1% inuit.

  9. Posted by Anguttialook on

    To Aluki the twins charges drooped is not acceptable..Aluki you are not the prosecutor, nor did you have a law Degree.your organization allowed that to happen,so maybe look at your,inept organization that is there to serve the all inuits,yet is self serving and is doing a disservice to your people..what resources did the colonists steal from your hinterland .only 12% VOTED for you voter ..appathy..time for all inuits especially the not so bright leaders to stop playing the victim card..NTI IS FUNDED BY CANADIAN TAXPAYERS,THAT MEANS YOUR EXORBITANTLY AND UNDESERVED PAY CHEQUES..SAY THANK YOU TO THE TAXPAYERS FOR THAT..WHAT INUIT FAMILY HAS 2 THAT WENT TO LAW SCHOOL..YOUR LAW PROGRAM IN IQALUIT IS WATERED DOWN.WHAT ROLE DID NTI PLAY IN CREATING THAT..OH CRY ME A RIVER

    • Posted by Circus on

      Aluki and Pajamas are two of the wokest politicians out there.

  10. Posted by Iqalummiuta on

    Tax payers (including Inuit that paid taxes before the signing the Nunavut Agreement. NTI and the RIAs now operating from the interest of the principle of the Agreement payment along with IBAs dollars from mining companies and or Parks and Conservation Areas.

    Not current tax payers..

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