QIA auditor clears Ell of allegations
Mackay Landau, an accounting firm whose Iqaluit branch does frequent work for the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, says there is no substance to allegations made by the Qikiqtaaluk Corporation’s former executive director.
IQALUIT— Qikiqtaaluk Corporation President Jerry Ell has received a clean bill of financial management from a local auditor hired by the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.
A letter from QC’s former CEO, Pitseolak Pfeifer, to QIA president Pauloosie Keeyotak alleging fraud, breach of trust and misappropriation of funds by Ell, was “groundless,” Keeyotak said in a press conference Wednesday.
A QIA press release said that Pfeifer’s letter “set out a number of allegations of financial irregularities by Mr. Ell and stated further that there was some involvement by certain other members of the Ulu Economic Development Commission in connection with the same allegations.”
“Knowing it came from a beneficiary of the Baffin region, of course we had to take it seriously,” Keeyotak said through a translator at a hastily called press conference, Wednesday.
He said that QIA’s executive board held a meeting July 28, the day he received the letter and decided to hire accounting firm MacKay Landau to do an investigation, he said.
“The investigation found no evidence whatsoever of any wrongdoing or any misuse of funds,” said Keeyotak.
MacKay Landau does other work for both QC and QIA as an independent auditor, Keeyotak said.
The investigation finished Wednesday morning and examined financial records dating back to 1997 when Ell was hired, Keeyotak said. “This was a preliminary review,” he said.
Further investigation into the matter was not required he said. QIA’s executive board has also concluded that no financial irregularities had been committed by “any of the other Ulu Board Members contrary to the financial practices, policies and procedures of Qikiqtaaluk Corporation.”
“We are very pleased with the outcome,” said Keeyotak. QIA decided it would be in its best interest not to take any legal action against Pfeifer, he said.
Ell said he is pleased with the findings, but still plans to sue Pfeifer for defamation of character.
“That’s something I said I would do. The only thing that has changed is that I decided to wait for the outcome of this investigation.”
Ell said he had not specified an amount he would be seeking in damages. “I’ll have to look at how this has affected me professionally and personally. I feel like my are both back firmly on the ground at work. We’ve always been an open book organization.”
McKay Landau’s report will be made public, Keeyotak said.
But Ell interjected, saying that the report would not be made available until confidential material relating to personnel and QC’s finances have been removed.