Alberta court rejects ex-Nanaimo executive’s appeal of jurisdiction for disciplinary hearing – Nanaimo News Bulletin

A three-judge Alberta panel has dismissed a former Nanaimo city official’s appeal of jurisdiction for a questionable expense hearing.

Victor Mema, employed as the city’s chief financial officer from March 2016 to October 2017, is facing complaints from Nanaimo and the District of Sechelt for professional conduct related to expenses, according to a memorandum from the Alberta Court of Appeals. The Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta, of which Mema is a member, are set to begin a disciplinary hearing, while an investigation by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia awaits the outcome in Alberta.

Mema claimed a CPA Alberta complaints committee lacks jurisdiction to hold the hearing because the cases took place in British Columbia, and he argued he shouldn’t have to pay $46,000 in court costs related to the appeal.

The panel ruled that CPA Alberta does not have to cede jurisdiction to its counterpart in British Columbia, because “[it] exercises its functions pursuant to an exclusive jurisdiction and duty conferred by the Legislature in the interest of the Alberta public. PCA [B.C.] serves the public of [B.C.] and the fact that it is comparable to CPA Alberta, and may even be cooperative with CPA Alberta in a broader social goal of protecting the public.

With respect to court costs, the panel noted that Mema’s appeal “did not succeed on these preliminary jurisdictional issues. Therefore, the appellate court has jurisdiction to order him to pay all or part of the reasonable costs.

The appeal on the preliminary jurisdictional issue was dismissed, but a decision on costs was delayed until after the CPA Alberta disciplinary hearing.

A City of Nanaimo complaint to Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia in May 2018 alleges that Mema made numerous charges on his company credit card that he did not reimburse. A January 2018 lawsuit filed by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta, based on allegations by Sechelt, accused Mema of making unauthorized charges for personal items on the district’s credit card while he was employee from April 2013 to August 2015, according to court documents.

A third complaint was filed with CPA BC in May 2018 regarding Mema’s use of corporate credit cards for personal expenses while employed by both the City of Nanaimo and the District of Sechelt, according to court documents.

In an email, Gordon Turtle, spokesperson for CPA Alberta, said he could not comment on the court rulings, but the organization will move forward.

“At this point, CPA Alberta now intends to proceed with an initial complaints hearing,” Turtle said, adding that his organization expects the hearing to be held this summer.

Mema was hired by the City of Nanaimo as its finance manager in September 2015. The city announced that he was no longer with her in May 2018, although it did not say whether he had been fired or resigned.

The appeal was heard on January 4 in Edmonton.

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Thelma J. Longworth