Attawapiskat audit cost taxpayers $411K

A third-party audit of the troubled Attawapiskat reserve cost the federal government more than $400,000, CBC News has learned.

According to documents obtained under Access to Information, the final bill for the audit came to $411,015.62. That includes about $35,000 for travel to the remote northern Ontario reserve.

The audit, obtained by CBC News last month, found significant documentation was lacking for the $104 million the federal government transfered to the Attawapiskat band between 2005 and 2011.

The funding was intended for housing, infrastructure, education and other services.

The comprehensive audit was unusual for the Aboriginal Affairs department. It asked the accounting firm Deloitte to determine if federal money was spent as it should have been.

The audit found that of the 505 transactions reviewed, more than 400 lacked proper documentation.

A letter sent by Deloitte to Attawapiskat chief Theresa Spence in August said there is "no evidence of due diligence on the part of Attawapiskat of funding provided by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada for housing projects and Health Canada for health-related projects."

The report went on to recommend stricter enforcement measures, more eligibility requirements and more reviews of the First Nation's record keeping.

Spence dismissed the audit as a "distraction." It was released while she was refusing solid food in an attempt to force a meeting with the prime minister and the Governor General to discuss aboriginal concerns.

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