A police investigation into the Seyem’ Qwantlen business group began almost a year ago with allegations that $4 million had been stolen during a four-year period, according to the Langley RCMP.
Local Mounties recently confirmed that they opened an investigation into the business group, which was created by the Kwantlen First Nation as a tool for economic development.
The investigation began with a complaint filed to the Upper Fraser Valley Regional District (UFVRD) RCMP on July 23, 2020, said Cpl. Holly Largy, alleging the theft of $4 million internally from the Kwantlen First Nation, going back to 2016.
“The initial complaint was received through one specific individual who provided substantial documentation that was believed to support the allegation,” said Largy.
No charges have been laid and no wrongdoing has been proven in court.
On Aug. 4 last year, the UFVRD RCMP transferred the investigation file to the Langley RCMP’s serious crime section because a case of this type needed a dedicated crime unit with expertise in similar investigations, Largy said.
Langley Mounties spoke to people who were identified as having information about the allegations, and investigated the data given to them by the original complainant, going back to the source wherever possible. Largy did not identify anyone who was interviewed.
She did say that as part of the investigation, the RCMP did notify the KFN’s Chief Marilyn Gabriel and the three-person band council, as they were the ultimate authority over the Seyem’ Qwantlen business group.
While the investigation was underway, Largy said Langley RCMP also connected with Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) about jurisdictional issues.
In cases involving federal funds and First Nations governments, it is the federal government that has oversight. But it was determined that the Seyem’ Qwantlen business entities were not under the umbrella of the federal government – they were under the authority of the KFN itself – alone.
More interviews took place from March through June of this year, Largy explained.
In April, there was a teleconference involving Langley RCMP, CIRNAC, UFVRD RCMP, and the RCMP’s E Division financial integrity unit.
“The result of the teleconference was a determination that without a forensic accounting audit, there is no evidence to suggest a crime has been committed,” Largy said.
A forensic audit is currently underway, ordered by the KFN’s government.
“KFN were pursuing a forensic audit prior to being contacted by the RCMP,” Largy noted.
The corporal previously said that while the police investigation is closed at this point, if the audit turns up any suspected criminal activity, the investigation will be reopened.
The Langley Advance Times has reached out to the KFN government for comment.
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