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Ndilo chief disputes misuse of band credit card

Terrence McEachern
Northern News Services
Published Friday, February 4, 2011

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - The chief of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation in Ndilo is denying allegations he misused the band's credit card and racked up a bill in personal expenses.

"It was used for business, like with airlines, meetings, meals and helping members," said Ted Tsetta, who declined to make any further comments on Thursday.

Dettah Band Chief Ed Sangris confirmed a meeting took place last Monday with the band's councillors who "dealt with" the matter and arranged a repayment plan for the money, he said. Sangris wouldn't comment on the repayment plan or the type of expenses on the band's credit card.

"In our view, it wasn't all band business," said Sangris. "The councillors already dealt with it, so Ted can say whatever he wants."

Kelly Cumming, executive assistant for Ed Sangris, also confirmed a special council meeting took place on Jan. 31 to address what she termed as "inappropriate behaviour."

Cumming confirmed the councillors did vote on a response, but because the vote was held in-camera the details are not available to the public.

She wouldn't say how much Tsetta spent, but she did deny the amount was $20,000 as reported in other Northern media.

She added the actual sum is "less" and said Tsetta has already repaid 75 per cent of the amount.

Cumming also wouldn't confirm what the expenses were, other than to say they were "unsubstantiated costs."

"If you don't bring in a receipt to prove it's a legitimate business expense ... that's an unsubstantiated cost. So, it's things like that," she said.

Cumming said no firm date has been set for the full repayment of the amount, but at the special band council meeting, she said Tsetta was "encouraged to pay it back as quickly as possible."

Cumming also said that Tsetta lost his privileges with the card.

"Obviously when a situation like this is happening, everyone knows there is a problem in the situation. And there was an obvious remedy, which is to take away the credit card," she said. "So, when we sat down and talked about this problem, he gave it up."

However, Cumming sounded surprised to hear that Tsetta disputed he used the credit card for personal expenses.

"That's interesting," she said. "Well, this is an unusual situation."

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