More light is shed on the situation
New details surrounding former URSU president Haanim Nur’s resignation have revealed that she forged two CFS Saskatchewan cheques totaling $700 and attempted to cash another cheque worth $300. The third cheque was cancelled by the CFS Saskatchewan national executive representative Kent Peterson after the bank alerted him that his signature did not match the one on file.
The CFS national office maintains that up until the release of last week’s article in the Carillon, they have not had enough documentation to pursue legal action.
“Up until the article [last week], there was no admission of guilt on her part that she had actually taken any money,” said Adam Awad, who became the CFS National Chairperson in June of this year. “I haven’t had any contact with her since the article ran, but that doesn’t mean that we are not going to make efforts to contact her directly to try and make sure the money is paid.”
An official statement released by CFS SK on Friday revealed that the irregularities in the CFS’s bank account were first noticed in “early 2012” but does not go into specifics regarding exactly dates on when the CFS National Executive Representative took action. Peterson, who requested to be interviewed over email, declined to elaborate on the exact dates of the events simply referring the Carillon back to CFS SK’s original statement. In an interview with the Leader Post, Peterson later revealed that the bank first contacted him in February.
“We had not considered it earlier because there had not been an admission of guilt. Now that that has happened, taking a legal course of action is now an option.” – Adam Awad
According to the official statement by CFS SK, Peterson was alerted by bankers that his signature on a specific CFS cheque did not seem to match the others. Peterson then cancelled the cheque and confiscated Nur’s CFS financial documents. Upon examining the cheque Peterson was able to confirm it was in fact forged.
“Unfortunately the Chairperson [Nur] was not able to provide several months’ worth of bank statements and so there were many questions that needed to be answered before the account could be fully closed,” reads the CFS SK statement.
“The answer provided was not an admission, but neither was it a denial,” Peterson said in an email. “In the context, that answer was simply not satisfactory.”
The exact dates of the events surrounding the issue were not revealed to the Carillon before our deadline, but the CFS SK statement does note that it was “a number of weeks” before the bank account was closed and “the funds and documents were transferred to the national organization.”
According to the document, Nur did not submit an “admission of responsibility” to CFS SK.
The CFS SK statement notes that at this point “the Saskatchewan National Executive Representative felt he had taken all of the steps he could to address this matter. Any decision about seeking repayment of taking legal action is not under that authority of the CFS-Saskatchewan Component.”
For that reason, CFS SK decided that it was no longer their responsibility to make a public statement. Any responsibility for legal action then fell on the shoulders of the CFS national office.
“As far as I understand from what was known by the CFS national office at the time, [the evidence] was not conclusive,” Awad said, who was not the national chair during the incident. “There was no admission on her part that she had taken any money during her time as chairperson.”
Just days before the end of her term, Nur admitted to forging two cheques – that were cashed – and, according to the CFS SK official statement, she committed to repaying the money.
“Shortly thereafter, the new Saskatchewan Component Chairperson [Paige Kezima] informed the Board of the University of Regina Students’ Union about the matter,” the statement reads.
Shortly after Kezima informed URSU of their findings, Nur handed in her resignation as president on June 12 for “personal reasons.”
“We made Haanim aware of the allegations,” said Mike Young. “It was decided at that time that her resignation would be best for everyone involved.”
However the decision was an informal procedure, and there was no official motion asking for Nur’s resignation at an URSU board meeting, said Young.
Despite Nur admitting to cashing two of the fraudulent cheques, both CFS SK and CFS national have insisted that until an admission of guilt was presented there was nothing that they could do in terms of a public statement or legal action.
“CFS SK did everything in its purview to gather information. CFS SK had done all it could do,” Peterson said in an email. “CFS SK had only limited information and no statement of wrongdoing from the individual in question. Thus, it would have been inappropriate and irresponsible to make public allegations at that time.”
“So that was kind of a game changer in terms of the information that we could confirm,” Awad added. “I think the main thing to note is that her admission in that article has kind of changed the options available for perusing action. We had not considered it earlier because there had not been an admission of guilt.
“Now that that has happened, taking a legal course of action is now an option.”
In terms of URSU’s responsibility, Young contends that they have no grounds to take any action themselves.
“URSU did not have legal standing to do anything in this matter,” he said. “URSU has no access to the account, URSU has no signing authority on the account, the account is not in the name of URSU, and URSU does not have the financial records of the account. We cannot be held responsible, morally or legally, for anything that goes on with the account.
“We consider this to be a CFS matter, and URSU does not meddle in the affairs of other organizations.”
“We have done our due diligence, our books are clean, and with the resignation of Haanim Nur, we believe that our part in this matter is over,” said URSU president Nathan Sgrazzutti. “We believe that it is in our best interest to let CFS deal with CFS. We are very interested in this matter. It was student funds that were taken, and because of that we hope to see some action taken on this issue.”
The Carillon is still attempting to track down relevant information pertaining to the exact dates surrounding the events as they took place. It is clear that $700 dollars was stolen and is yet to be repaid. We will be following the events as they unfold and tracking the progress of the story as new information becomes available.
Full disclosure: Kent Peterson serves on the Carillon board of directors. However, the board does not control the editorial content decisions of the Carillon editorial board as stated in our constitution.