NEWS

Suspended Mema finally gets BC credentials

Nanaimo finance chief can now legally sign as CPA but that’s unlikely to help his tenuous job situation
victor_mema
Victor Mema
Nanaimo’s suspended chief financial officer (CFO) Victor Mema has finally become registered to legally use his accounting designation in BC.

The move is unlikely change his job status at the city, where he is under investigation following what council described as an “allegation of significant concern.”

Edward Tanaka, vice president of ethics at accounting watchdog Chartered Professional Accountants of BC (CPABC), yesterday confirmed that Mr. Mema has been accepted as a member.

That means he can now legally use the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation after his name when signing financial documents in this province.

It also means he is now subject to direct regulation by CPABC and its complaints process.

Mr. Mema applied for BC membership after News Nanaimo reported in January that he had been improperly using the designation since before joining the city in 2015.

Although registered as a CPA in Alberta, he was never a member of the BC body and so was not legally authorized to use the designation while working at the City of Nanaimo.

Mr. Mema has never explained why he failed to register in BC yet signed various city financial reports as a CPA.

Investigation continues

Bringing his accounting credentials into compliance with provincial law addresses only one of Mr. Mema’s employment issues, sources said.

He is currently suspended with pay amid an internal investigation by city lawyers who have been probing allegations made against him at a closed-door council meeting more than a month ago.

It’s understood of that part of the investigation centres on Mr. Mema using his city credit card to pay for personal expenses that he was later unable to repay in full.

Investigators are also reviewing Mr. Mema’s role in spending by city manager Tracy Samra, who is currently on administrative leave following her arrest on allegations of uttering threats on Jan. 31.

Mr. Mema first earned his credentials for the CPA designation in 2014 by completing the Chartered Management Accountant (CMA) program while he was CFO for the District of Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast.

Sechelt paid about $30,000 towards his CPA education, including several flights, hotel stays, car hires and meal expenses for trips to Alberta to attend executive training sessions.

Last September, Sechelt sued Mr. Mema seeking repayment of almost $10,000 related to allegedly personal expenses he charged to a corporate credit card.

Mr. Mema has not responded to the claim in court.

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  • Thanks again for this news item, Dominic. Acquiring BC credentials is a good thing, but I doubt the CPBAC will cover Mena for misdeeds prior to his accreditation. He will have to meet those costs out of his own pocket. If he ever gets another job, that is. Is he still on paid leave? Is he allowed to be on City property?

  • Well, that’s great for Mr. Mema. Congratulations. And now there is one key question, after why he thought he could sign off on documents that required CPA credentials in BC when he had not yet been granted that designation by the governing body. That question is why the city allowed this to happen. Was no one aware he was not yet granted CPA status in BC? Or was someone aware and thought it was OK he could do CPA work while lacking the proper credentials? These questions are just a small part of a much larger mess to which frustrated and angry residents have no answers.

  • If Nanaimo City Council and staff had searched really hard, it is difficult to see how they could have found a more dubious character to be our chief financial officer. They could have asked his employer, the town of Sechelt, about him. Also, the kind of answers he gives are always, always, convoluted and evasive. He will “get back to (you) on that,” and then, he doesn’t.

  • I think it fair to say, Dominic, that this only happened because of your persistent sleuthing. Congrats. And let this also be a lesson to anyone presenting credentials for a city appointment: make sure you have complied with all professional requirements and been fully forthcoming about your training and employment history.

  • Let me get this straight.
    Mema doesn’t get his CPA designation for BC like he was supposed to do when hired by the city of Nanaimo, then uses the CPA designation in BC anyway, then is sued by the District of Sechelt for using his business credit card to run up $10K in personal expenses when he worked there, and then does the same thing again with his business credit card for about the same amount after joining the city of Nanaimo.

    After all that, Edward Tanaka, vice president of ETHICS at the Chartered Professional Accountants of BC (CPABC), confirms Mr. Mema has been accepted as a member! Which leads to the question: What does a person have to do to NOT be accepted as a member?! What a joke!

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