Dec 192012

By Linda Kor
The investigation into the misuse of discretionary funds by some former and current elected officials of the Navajo Nation continues as special prosecutors delve deeper into what they believe to be massive fraud involving the use of $36 million in discretionary funds.
In July 2011, former Special Prosecutor Alan Belaran filed action against 85 defendants, a number that has since been reduced to 75. Included among those names removed from civil charges was that of District I Supervisor Jonathan Nez, who was cleared of any wrongdoing in late September.
The investigation ranges from ethics complaints to allegations of criminal violations, and some defendants will likely reach voluntary settlements with the Office of the Special Prosecutor, according to a court filing by the OSP.
The OSP has also concluded that strong evidence indicates some of the recipients of discretionary funds violated Navajo Nation laws by acts of compliance with the defendants. As a result, the OSP has broadened the scope of its inquiry, and plans to file from 10 to 15 criminal cases within the next several months.