Paul Rich working for Innu Nation, while still facing fraud charges

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Paul Rich working for Innu Nation, while still facing fraud charges

Paul Rich, who is facing fraud charges over his involvement with the Innu Development Limited Partnership (IDLP), is now employed by the Innu Nation.

On his LinkedIn profile page, Rich, the former chief executive officer of the IDLP, is identified as the "resource agreement co-ordinator" for the Innu Nation, a fact he confirmed in a brief telephone conversation with CBC News.

Earlier this month, Rich was committed to a Supreme Court trial by judge and jury for charges which stem from a 2014 review of IDLP's finances by former provincial auditor John Noseworthy.

The IDLP is a company tasked with creating economic activity for people living in Labrador's Innu communities. 

Noseworthy's report showed that Rich allegedly received approximately $1.5 million dollars in salary, bonus and incentives between 2008 and 2012 with little if any "evidence of board authorization for the excessive salary and bonuses or the incentives."

Rich and former chief financial officer Edgar Branton were both fired. Branton, who was also charged with fraud, is now deceased. 

"It's not my call, it's a decision that's in the courts," Rich said. "I got no more comments."

The RCMP charged Rich in the fall of 2015 after completing an investigation. His Linkedin profile shows he has been serving in his position with since October 2016.

The job description posted on his LinkedIn profile says, in part, that he is responsible for "all work that is happening in Innu Lands long or short term by various companies to comply will be one of the list of things to pursue, and making sure businesses hire our Innu Nation members under the IBAs, from both Innu communities."

Former employee speaks out 

"For Innu Nation to hire [him] while [he's] being charged for fraud, I don't know how to explain that," Jerome Jack, a former Innu Nation impacts and benefits co-ordinator, told CBC News. 

"I would strongly suggest they should have waited for the courts decision first before for the final outcome of the situation regarding Paul."

Jack, who was dismissed from his position, said his former job title was changed slightly for Rich.

He said he was given no reason for his dismissal, but added that he was pushing for changes in the benefit agreements that the Innu Nation has with companies like Nalcor Energy. 

"Everybody's laughing at [the] Innu Nation right now because of the work it conducts," Jack said. 

"The best practice is to hire [a] person that is being charged for fraud?" he asked. 

Grand Chief Anastasia Qupee did not return calls from CBC News. The Innu Nation refused to comment on the matter, saying it is before the courts.​