The Gwich’in Tribal Council says it has ordered a forensic audit of member councils in Fort McPherson, Tsiigehtchic, Aklavik and Inuvik.
In a press release on Tuesday, the GTC said accounting firm Deloitte had been hired to “undertake an independent forensic audit of the activities” of those four Gwich’in councils.
Grand Chief Ken Kyikavichik stated that the audit would help to ensure “the highest standards, accountability and compliance with respect to the proper use of financial resources.”
Kyikavichik said improved transparency and accountability were crucial “as we pursue a final agreement on Gwich’in government.”
Negotiators have spent more than a year trying to push Gwich’in self-government forward after decades of stop-start progress.
In Tuesday’s press release, the GTC said Gwich’in councils – and community governments, once self-government is achieved – needed to “be operated professionally and staffed with qualified personnel.”
“This forensic audit will verify historical transactions and proper financial controls to provide learnings to help ensure that the Gwich’in councils meet professional standards and expectations,” the statement concluded.
Tony Devlin, a communications officer for the GTC, said the audit was taking place with the full cooperation of the four affected councils.
“It was at the direction of the GTC board of directors, responding to the request brought forward by the Gwich’in councils and our participants,” Devlin said by email.
Devlin said the board – whose members are appointed by the councils – “felt this would be a good opportunity to set a foundation to build from, moving into future Gwich’in government by being transparent and accountable so we can move forward without hesitation.”