The Navajo-Hopi Observer reported on Tuesday that the Navajo Nation is currently working to correct issues with chapter audits, money management, and fraud prosecution after receiving reports outlining these problems.
Last week, the Budget and Finance Committee received reports from three different agencies: the Navajo Nation Office of the Auditor General, Navajo Nation Office of Hearings and Appeals, and the Navajo Nation Department of Justice.
One of the primary issues mentioned in the reports were overdue audits on finances, with a number of chapters overdue by years. Auditor General Elizabeth Begay told the Observer that, as an example, “Shonto Chapter has not completed an audit since 2000.”
In their report, the Navajo Department of Justice (NDOJ) found some concerning issues with chapter spending, including waste, abuse, and possible fraud.
Several recommendations were made by each of the agencies to avoid money mismanagement. The NDOJ, for instance, suggested hiring outside firms to audit Navajo chapters, the cost of which would be deducted from chapter appropriations. The Navajo Nation Office of Hearings and Appeals recommended in their report to implement policy changes to prevent chapter finance fraud.
The Budget and Finance Committee is currently considering recommendations to solve these finance issues.