- Associated Press - Saturday, June 13, 2015

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) - Navajo Nation officials who are accused of mismanaging or siphoning tribal government funds should be shamed in the headlines, a tribal lawmaker said this week.

Navajo Nation Council Delegate Leonard Tsosie said local government officials who are even suspected of stealing community funds should have their names and allegations against them published in all the local newspapers.

“If we don’t put their names on headlines, then they’ll continue to get away with it,” Tsosie said during a meeting in Window Rock, Arizona.

His push for a penalty of public humiliation came Tuesday after tribal Auditor General Elizabeth Begay recommended no sanctions against the Crownpoint Chapter in New Mexico, where $25,000 went missing without explanation. The auditor also questioned another $83,000 in costs at the chapter.

The funding gaps were first discovered during a 2011 audit of the chapter, the Gallup Independent reported (https://bit.ly/1jl8YBA). They were reported to the tribal ethics office as well as the tribe’s white collar crime unit, Begay said. Chapter officials who appeared linked to the missing money have not been charged. But they are not off the hook, Begay said. The tribe’s white collar crime unit is still investigating, she said.

Though they have not been charged, Crownpoint chapter officials’ names have been withheld. Tsosie said he doesn’t understand the need to conceal their names.

Begay said she plans to discuss Tsosie’s public-shaming proposal with current tribal Attorney General Ethel Branch.

The Tribal Council’s Resources and Development Committee approved the auditor’s report on the Crownpoint Chapter, including the recommendation against sanctions.


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