Navajo Justice Department: BCDS and OnSat investigations

Navajo Nation Councll chambers in Window Rock, Ariz., where Council and standing committees meet. Photo by Marley Shebala

Navajo Nation Councll chambers in Window Rock, Ariz., where Council and standing committees meet. Photo by Marley Shebala

The Navajo Nation Council’s Naabik’iyati Committee is having a SPECIAL meeting tomorrow, Feb. 13, Thursday, at 10 a.m. in the Navajo Nation Council chamber in Window Rock, Ariz..

Here’s the Naabik’yati Committee’s PROPOSED AGENDA. The meeting starts out with Reports and the first report is on BCDS and ONSAT and it’s from the Navajo Nation Department of Justice.

BCDS is the acronym for Biochemical Decontamination Systems, which was a company located in Shiprock. BCDS rose to national attention in 2007 when the tribe found out through a tribal audit that Hak Ghun, 63, who was heading BCDS had used $1.1 million of a $2.2 million tribal business loan for personal expenses. The loan came from the Navajo Dam Escrow Fund in 2006. But the first deal that the tribe made with Ghun was in 2003, when the tribe bought 51 percent of Ghun’s business for $300,000.

In December 2008, the tribe had to pay JP Morgan Chase $2.2 million for the defunct BCDS. JP Morgan Chase secured collateral for the $2.2 million from the Dam Escrow Fund.

The tribe later learned that Ghun has served three years in federal prison for his involvement in an $11 million fraud scheme in 1984.

In February 2013, Ghun pleaded guilty to federal income tax evasion. From 2005 to 2006, Ghun failed to pay income tax on $367,809. Ghun has to pay $249,567 back to the IRS and is serving a one year and one day federal prison sentence. After serving his federal prison term, Ghun is under supervised release for two years.

To this day, the tribe has not filed criminal charges against Ghun or other tribal officials. The tribal also has not received any restitution from Ghun or other tribal officials.

And on Feb. 5, Navajo Nation Window Rock District Court Judge Carol Perry signed a motion from the Special Prosecutors to dismiss charges against former President Joe Shirley related to misuse of tribal discretionary funds.

But it’s unknown if the Special Prosecutors are continuing their investigation of Shirley’s support of tribal business deals with BCDS and OnSat.

According to news reports, Shirley claimed that he completely cooperated with the Special Prosecutors. But in November 2010, during the last couple of months of Shirley’s presidency, Shirley sued then Special Prosecutor Alan Balaran in an effort to block Balaran from accessing computer hard drives that may have uncovered illegal activities by Shirley, his Chief of Staff Patrick Sandoval, and other high ranking tribal officials.

A tribal audit of OnSat, which Shirley also supported, revealed that the internet company had overcharged the tribe for services and charged the tribe for charges not rendered. In 2001, the tribe signed a $1.9 million contract with OnSat for internet services for the reservation’s 110 chapters. By 2006, OnSat was charged the tribe $32 million for services.

Hopefully, the Navajo Department of Justice report on BCDS and OnSat will remain public tomorrow.

The other report on the Naabik’iyati Committee agenda is an update from Navajo Nation Design and Engineering on the closing of tribal administration buildings 1 and 2 and the recent closure of the Division of Natural Resources building.

The Legislation on the Naabi agenda are:
LEGISLATION 0012-14:Urging Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick and the U.S.Congress to fast track funds for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to Work with the Navajo Nation Department of Water Resources to Study, Survey, and Mark Out the Floodplain along the Little Colorado River and Prioritize, Authorize and Assist in the Development and Construction of Flood Control Projects to Prevent Dangerous and Repetitive Flooding Emergencies and Substantial Damage to Homes, Property, Roads and Earthen Dams and Levees in the Communities along the Little Colorado River of Birdsprings, Leupp, Cameron, Coalmine Canyon and Tolani Lake Chapters (Resources & Development Committee took action on Legislation 0012-14 on 2/10/14. The sponsors are Delegates Walter Phelps and Dwight Witherspoon.

LEGISLATION 0024-14: Confirming the Appointment of Omar Bradley to Serve a Four-Year Term as a Board Member of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise Board of Directors. The Resources & Development Committee took action on legislation 0024-14 on 2/4/14. The sponsor is Delegate Danny Simpson.

LEGISLATION 0027-14: Approving Supplemental Funding from the Unreserved, Undesignated Fund Balance in the Amount of $90,000 for Lupton Chapter Roof Repairs, $600,000 for Chichiltah Chapter Renovation, $300,000 for Chilchinbeto Chapter Renovation. The sponsors are Delegates Charles Damon II and Lorenzo Curley. The Budge &Finance Committee took action on 2/4/14.

And remember, the Naabi Committee agenda can be amended by the committee to add reports or legislation.

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