First Nations U. official guilty of fraud

Former VP of finance paid himself "coordinator fees" for trip to Scotland

The First Nations University of Canada’s former vice-president of administration and finance has pleaded guilty to defrauding the federal government yesterday in a Regina court, reports CBC News. Wesley Robert Stevenson, 60, received a 12-month non-jail sentence and 75 hours of community service for his crime. Stevenson admitted that he used $15,000 earmarked for an FNUC cultural exchange to Scotland’s Orkney Islands to pay for things that had nothing to do with the trip and that he later paid himself more than $7,000 in “coordinator’s fees” for attending. Stevenson was suspended by the university in 2005 for alleged financial misappropriation. He was then fired, which he contested with an unsuccessful wrongful dismissal suit.

Cases like these have seriously impacted the Regina-based school’s image, but it appears to have turned a corner. After multiple allegations of financial irregularities and warnings to clean up its books, both Ottawa and Saskatchewan cut funding to the Regina-based school in early 2010. But grants were restored months later when a new board or directors agreed to a restructuring process. A new president, business-expert Doyle Anderson, was hired in May. FNUC issued a news releases yesterday which promised to implement policies that will prevent more fraud.