A three-judge panel in Alberta has denied a former City of Nanaimo executive’s appeal related to jurisdiction for a hearing on questionable expenses.
Victor Mema, employed as the city’s chief financial officer from March 2016 to October 2017, faces complaints from Nanaimo and the District of Sechelt for professional conduct related to spending, according to a Court of Appeal of Alberta memorandum. Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta, of which Mema is a member, is prepared to begin a disciplinary hearing, while a Chartered Professional Accountants of B.C. investigation is pending the result in Alberta.
Mema asserted that a CPA Alberta complaints committee doesn’t have jurisdiction to hold the hearing, as the matters occurred in B.C., and he argued that he shouldn’t have to pay $46,000 in court costs related to the appeal.
The panel ruled that CPA Alberta does not have to give up jurisdiction to its B.C. counterpart, as “[it] is carrying out its function under an exclusive jurisdiction and duty given by the legislature in the interest of the Alberta public. CPA [B.C.] serves the public of [B.C.] and the fact that it is comparable to CPA Alberta, and may even be co-operative with CPA Alberta in a larger social goal of public protection.”
As for the court costs, the panel noted that Mema’s appeal “was unsuccessful on these preliminary jurisdictional issues. Therefore, the appeal tribunal has authority to order him to pay all or any part of the reasonable costs.”
The appeal on the preliminary jurisdiction issue was dismissed, but a decision on costs was delayed until the CPA Alberta disciplinary hearing wraps up.
A City of Nanaimo complaint to Chartered Professional Accountants of B.C. in May 2018 alleges Mema made numerous charges to his corporate credit card that he didn’t pay back. A January 2018 complaint filed by Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta, based on allegations from Sechelt, accused Mema of making unauthorized charges for personal items to the district credit card when he was employed from April 2013 to August 2015, court documents stated.
A third complaint was filed with CPA B.C. in May 2018 related to Mema’s use of corporate credit cards for personal expenditures while employed with both the City of Nanaimo and District of Sechelt, court documents said.
In an e-mail, Gordon Turtle, CPA Alberta spokesperson, said he coudn’t comment on court decisions, but the organization will move ahead.
“At this point, CPA Alberta now intends to proceed to a hearing about the original complaints,” said Turtle, adding that his organization expects the hearing to be held this summer.
Mema was hired by the City of Nanaimo as director of finance in September 2015. The city announced he was no longer in its employ in May 2018, although it wouldn’t say whether he had been fired or resigned.
The appeal was heard on Jan. 4 in Edmonton.