Former Liard First Nation chief now owes $250,000

Financial investigators are probing charges that disgraced former Liard First Nation chief Daniel Morris owes the band more than $250,000, says the…

Financial investigators are probing charges that disgraced former Liard First Nation chief Daniel Morris owes the band more than $250,000, says the current chief.

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada has approved a forensic audit of Liard First Nation finances, but Chief Liard McMillan did not go into details during a recent interview.

“To my knowledge the forensic audit is still underway,” he said.

“There is an active RCMP investigation, too, but I can’t speak anymore to that issue.

“Liard First Nation will strive towards better accountability throughout Kaska Nation organizations, such as tribal councils and companies.”

Previously, the amount of the money Morris owed the First Nation was pegged at about $100,000.

Indian affairs is not actually conducting the audit, but is paying KPMG to audit the First Nation’s books.

All findings will be handed to the RCMP once completed, said an Indian Affairs spokesperson.

Revelations about the financial dealings came after the First Nation removed Morris as chief when he pleaded guilty in 2003 to aggravated assault, confinement and weapons charges after he kidnapped and beat his estranged wife at gunpoint.

McMillan was elected chief shortly after and tightened the First Nation’s purse strings, laying off non-essential staff, suspending all travel and cutting wages among remaining staff, including the chief and council, to ensure the government’s financial survival.

The new administration discovered Morris, several associates and councillors received about $300,000 in interest-free personal loans from band coffers in fiscal year 2003, Morris’ last year as chief.

At McMillan’s request, the RCMP has been conducting a criminal investigation into the First Nation’s affairs since the discovery.

RCMP did not return phone calls for comment.

Morris is running for the chief’s job in the Liard First Nation’s current election.

McMillan is seeking re-election as chief.

Voters go to the polls November 5. (JW)

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