MANFF under investigation

The Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters has been overseeing aid for flood evacuees. Walther Bernal/ Global News

WINNIPEG – William Campbell is tired of living in a hotel.

Two years after his house on Lake St. Martin was flooded out, the 21-year-old is still homeless.

“I stay in six to seven months, found a house, moved out of the house and then I came back,” said Campbell who can’t find a job because he doesn’t have a fixed address.

The organization in charge of taking care of evacuees like Campbell is under fire, accused of mismanaging money bound for flood victims.

Ted Ducharme worked at the Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters for almost two years before blowing the whistle on what he calls millions of dollars in questionable spending.

“Overtime that was above and beyond anything that we were allowed to put down on a regular basis for people that would show up two to three hours late or leave early and still get signed off for 30 to 40 hours of overtime,” said Ducharme who has since been fired for going public with this information.

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The federal government has paid out more than $70-million to cover hotel, food and other expenses for thousands of evacuees. Roughly 2000 people are still displaced.

Some are staying at Misty Lake Lodge but owner Mike Bruneau says MANFF hasn’t paid him for months. He says he’s out $2.5-million.

“It’s unbelievable how they let it run this long,” said Bruneau. “The way they operated, it’s just unbelievable.”

The federal government has now launched an audit of MANFF and will be asking the Red Cross to take over.

“They’re (Red Cross) a reputable agency and a non governmental organization that does a lot of work for people in similar situations,” said Aboriginal Affairs Minister Eric Robinson. “We anticipate that they will do a great job.”

The audit will take roughly two months to complete.

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