Kasabonika Lake News
With the assistance of Sara Mai Chitty
February 23, 2017
Following suspicious activity over the long weekend where money from the Small Business Centre went missing, the former general manager of Kasabonika Community Development Corporation admitted to stealing a sum of $2,000 on Facebook.
Mitchell Diabo entered the community February 18 to visit, and checked into the SBC hotel. An SBC worker let him into the office later that day to make a phone call, but found his request suspicious as there are other phones in the building, and he has a cellular phone. The SBC had been closed for the duration of the Saturday night Hockey Tournament Bingo.
After the worker returned, they found the safe and a drawer open and alerted the hotel manager. Following an investigation the following day involving a NAPS officer, a councillor and an SBC board member, a review of security tapes revealed Diabo stealing the money.
NAPS performed due diligence and Council met yesterday to discuss what to do, but no decisions can be made without the Chief, according to a Councillor.
Diabo arrived in the community in the mid 2000s at the then Council’s request to advise on community and mineral development projects. He specialized in grant writing and project proposals, and held the title of General Manager of KCDC, as well as ran for council last year.
Diabo’s statement on the 210 Local News Facebook page was as follows:
“Good people of Kasabonika, I need to confess to you what I’ve done at SBC:
- I did help myself to $2,000 of SBC cash.
- I did so after closing hours.
- I did this alone and am solely responsible.
- I am shamefully sorry and apologize to each and everyone of you for my actions.
- I flew out by sked on Tuesday with Wasaya as booked 2 weeks before.
- I have already spoken to Council about this mistake and will make amends for what I’ve done.
- I deeply regret what I’ve done and pray for forgiveness.
- This is the truth and I own it and all consequences.
Now the half-truths can end such as it being $10 000 in cash and so on.
I would like to suggest that the cash and food inventory be better controlled and managed. SBC will be in a deep hole at March 31st and may worsen the Band’s deficit when its not known how deep those losses are.
I say this only to seek to improve the SBC because it is a good business and can continue to do good for the people.
I own what I did and blame only myself, so I sincerely hope for forgiveness as I now make amends for my actions. I am truly sorry!”
Reactions ranged from disappointment to forgiveness. Some people questioned the integrity of Diabo’s involvement in current and future development projects. He is involved with securing the Penn-Co Construction deal to upgrade the Nursing Station.
Many people were impressed with his honesty but others were not convinced.
“What if nobody noticed or cam wasn’t there what would u have done???? Would u have confessed? Prolly not lol…[sic]” wrote one community member.
Others criticized in the comments that he seemed to shift blame on SBC staff and management for poor control of inventory and cash flow. The post has since been removed at the request of a community member, citing it as disrespectful to a local Elder about to pass.
So far Diabo has stated he has spoken to Council and he agreed to pay back the money, however other consequences, if any, have yet to be determined. Under the Criminal Code of Canada section cc. 322, everyone found guilty of theft under $5000 is punishable by up to two years in prison or in less serious cases, a summary conviction of a fine or up to six months in jail.