Gwich'in adopt new accounting rules

by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Aug 11/97) - The Gwich'in Tribal Council introduced new accounting processes at its annual assembly that its president says will make it more responsible to land claim beneficiaries.

"There was a need for us to ensure questions that were being asked were answered appropriately," said council president Richard Nerysoo.

Some of those questions were raised in a complaint filed with the RCMP last month. The complaint alleges the council misappropriated funds and was in a conflict of interest in some of its business dealings.

After a preliminary interviews, the investigation was dropped.

A bylaw approved by delegates at the assembly gives beneficiaries the right to request financial information and requires the release of financial information on a quarterly basis, said Nerysoo.

Beneficiaries will also now have the authority to call for special audits.

Bylaw 19 also establishes two new committees. The finance committee will be responsible for establish policies governing expenditures. The audit committee will examine expenditures to make sure they comply with policy and budgets established by the council.

"Structurally and organizationally we've got to improve," said Nerysoo. "We're a $40-million organization and we've got to have an organizational structure that allows us to be more accountable to the beneficiaries."

At the assembly a motion to conduct a forensic audit of tribal council books was withdrawn.