A disciplinary hearing into the conduct of the District of Sechelt’s former chief financial officer, Victor Mema has been delayed for a third time.
The Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta (CPAA) advised Coast Reporter in a Sept. 20 email that the hearing set to start in Edmonton on Oct. 4 had been adjourned with no new date set. It did not respond to questions about the reasons for the adjournment by Coast Reporter press time.
CPAA launched its proceedings regarding Mema, a member of their organization, in September 2019. Its complaints inquiry committee alleged he was guilty of unprofessional conduct, based on information provided by Sechelt and the City of Nanaimo, two of his former employers.
The hearing was originally scheduled for February 2020, but was delayed twice. Mema applied and was unsuccessful in having the hearing dismissed in November, 2020. He later filed a Supreme Court of Alberta challenge of the jurisdiction of the CPAA over the matters which occurred in B.C.
In January 2022, that court ruled in favour of the CPAA. It also ruled that as Mema was unsuccessful on the preliminary jurisdictional issues, the appeal tribunal had authority to order him to pay all or any part of the reasonable court costs.
The costs related to the appeal were estimated to be in the range of $46,000. A final decision on repayment is on hold until the completion of the disciplinary proceedings.
The CPAA disciplinary action focuses on Mema’s alleged use of corporate credit cards for unauthorized personal expenses. The amount in question from Nanaimo is $14,148.97 and from Sechelt, it is “not less than $7,743.29,” according to CPAA’s discipline hearing notice.
Also to be heard are allegations that over the final 10 months of his employment with Sechelt, which began April 2013 and ended in August 2015, Mema failed to file corporate credit card use reports on a timely basis.
Another matter being probed is potentially improper approvals of his own expenses and those of another employee while with Nanaimo from September, 2015 to May 2018.
CPAA further alleges that he failed to cooperate with and respond on a timely basis to requests made by its investigator, which are both requirements of association members.
The CPAA’s website states its disciplinary tribunals are comprised of two chartered professional accountants and one public member, all with no prior knowledge of the case and free from bias or conflict.
If a finding of unprofessional conduct is made, the tribunal orders appropriate sanctions. Those can include suspension, reprimand, restrictions on the respondent’s areas of practice or cancelled registration.
When deciding on sanctions, it considers the seriousness of the conduct, any mitigating or aggravating factors, what is required to protect the public, whether rehabilitation is possible, and what will deter the respondent and other registrants.