Robert Fuller, brother of controversial councillor Gord Fuller, published the highly specific information in comments on Facebook after saying that he had discussed Mr. Mema’s situation with his brother.
He claims that Mr. Mema asked that he be allowed to repay the personal expenses over time by having the “monies deducted from his cheques.”
The councillor’s brother claims this was not a loan, even though the city paid Mr. Mema’s credit card balance in full and then allowed him to repay the city interest free through payroll deductions.
The Canada Revenue Agency defines a loan as any “indebtedness such as the unpaid purchase price of goods or services” that an employee repays over time.
Sources have told News Nanaimo that Mr. Mema spent thousands on personal vacation expenses and a car service in breach of the city’s purchasing card policies and the card agreement.
The loan repayment arrangement was approved by city manager Tracy Samra, they said.
Mr. Mema was suspended with pay after an in-camera meeting on March 1 pending an investigation into what the city has described as “an allegation of significant concern.”
Gord Fuller dodges questions
The disclosures on Facebook by Cllr. Fuller’s brother are significant because they put the councillor in the spotlight for possibly breaching council confidentiality.
Councillors are prohibited by law from divulging information considered at in-camera meetings. The city’s lawyers have warned council that divulging information about the ongoing investigations into Mr. Mema or Ms. Samra could compromise the city and its taxpayers’ financial interests.
None of the information News Nanaimo has published about Mr. Mema’s personal spending on the city’s purchase card has come from city councillors.
Cllr. Fuller would not directly answer if he had given his brother information about Mr. Mema. The questions were emailed to him three times.
At first he responded with only a link to an old news release on the city’s staff expenses policies.
In a second response he said: “If I don’t say anything ya gonna make it up :). ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Cllr. Fuller has previously admitted to leaking two confidential legal letters that he obtained at an in-camera meeting. The letters were subsequently published on Facebook.
BC’s Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner has confirmed to News Nanaimo that Cllr. Fuller is a subject of ongoing inquiries into leaks at the city.
Cllr. Fuller is a member of the five-man majority that controls council and has never been disciplined for breaching council confidences despite his admissions.
This is in contrast to their censure of Diane Brennan on false allegations of breaching confidentiality.
Mema still not registered as CPA
In other developments, it has been confirmed that Nick Mloyi, a former colleague of Mr. Mema from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) in Fort McMurray, Alta., is no longer with the city. His position was said to be temporary.
It was also confirmed that another former RMWB colleague who Mr. Mema was in the process of hiring prior to his suspension will no longer be joining the city.
The finance department is currently headed by Laura Mercer, a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) who has been with the city for 16 years.
According to the Chartered Professional Accountants of BC, Mr. Mema is still not registered to use the CPA designation in this province.
CPABC’s vice president of ethics Edward Tanaka has previously said it takes about “three to five weeks” to process a membership application, adding that his organization does not comment on whether or not someone has applied to become a member.
It has been eight weeks since News Nanaimo first disclosed that the city’s top financial executive was not permitted to use the CPA designation in BC.
Mr. Mema has refused all media requests for comment.
However, in an email message to government finance associates, a copy of which was provided to News Nanaimo this week, he said: “I cannot share much at this point until I am clear what the issues are. My counsel is working through that with the city.
“I do understand that some media outlets are reaching out for comment to my associates and affiliates at this time. My counsel has advised that the best course of action is not to engage with the media at this point.”
He ended the email saying he will “provide updates periodically as the development evolves.”