Chief's removal from office will lead to full election at Splatsin First Nation

Removal leads to election

The North Okanagan's Splatsin First Nation will have a full election following the removal of its chief last week.

Acting co-band administrator Cindy Monkman confirms a full election will take place rather than a byelection.

That comes after Kukpi7 Doug Thomas and Coun. Beverly Thomas, his aunt, were both removed from office for financial issues related to the issuing of bank drafts without council authorization.

A community assembly was held Monday evening to discuss next steps.

"A full election will occur. Once an electoral officer is chosen ... then it is 100 days (until) the election occurs," Monkman said in an email.

The electoral officer is expected to be selected by end of next week.

The band meeting was attended by about 45 people, says Monkman.

She characterized it as calm and the membership primarily concurring with the full election decision.

The Thomases' removal came via a petition to the Splatsin Complaints and Appeal Board.

It found the two to have broken Splatsin financial policy and removed them from office while barring them from running again for eight years.

At least one of the bank drafts in question was to the auditing firm for a forensic audit of band financials, which was announced by Thomas in January.

The ousted chief has yet to comment on the situation, but has denied committing fraud or misappropriation of funds.

Petition documents showed Thomas believed he was fulfilling the community's "strong wishes" in issuing the drafts.

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