‘Huge concern’ over bridging funding allegations: Minister of Indigenous Services
Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said he was “extremely concerned” after allegations of mismanagement and self-dealing surfaced at Bridging Finance Inc., a Toronto-based lender that addressed to First Nations communities.
“Ensuring that Indigenous communities reach and close socio-economic gaps is essential, and in part, it’s full participation and eyes wide open to economic development. Obviously, this is a concern throughout the pandemic: Communities that have fought tooth and nail for their own source of income have enjoyed tremendous success, ”Miller said Tuesday evening at a press conference. on improving the education of Aboriginals in Quebec.
“Anytime there is a misappropriation issue, or events that have occurred that include financial loss, it worries me tremendously and is something that we as a government inevitably owe to ourselves. ensure to intervene. “
An Ontario Superior Court judge on Friday appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. to handle the affairs of Bridging Finance at the request of the Ontario Securities Commission amid allegations that the CEO of the company, David Sharpe, allegedly embezzled investor funds and failed to disclose conflicts of interest. None of the allegations against Bridging or Sharpe have been proven in court. Sharpe did not immediately return a request for comment.
Bridging Finance manages approximately $ 2 billion in loans primarily targeted to small and medium-sized businesses that need $ 3 million to $ 50 million in additional capital. As part of Bridging Finance, Sharpe, who is a Status Indian and a member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, has launched a dedicated fund to finance Indigenous economic development.
Miller did not immediately comment when asked whether he or the department had actively investigated all of the OSC’s allegations against Bridging Finance and Sharpe, and whether the cabinet had ever met with the minister or his staff. A search of the government lobbyists registry did not find any report that Sharpe or his colleagues at Bridging Finance met with officials in Ottawa.