LB - Northland Motorsports

Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Milestones | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS |
Navajo-Hopi Observer | Flagstaff, Arizona

home : latest news : local August 24, 2016

3/18/2014 10:29:00 AM
Naize pleads not guilty to conspiracy and bribery charges
Special Prosecutor's office files criminal charges against 15 current or former council delegates alleging misuse of discretionary fund
Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council Johnny Naize signs legislation in his office. WGCN/File photo
Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council Johnny Naize signs legislation in his office. WGCN/File photo

Katherine Locke
Associate Editor

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - Navajo Nation Speaker Johnny Naize pleded not guilty to one complaint of conspiracy to commit bribery and 11 complaints of bribery on March 11 on charges that he and other council delegates engaged in a quid pro quo agreement to direct money from the Nation's discretionary fund to each other's family members, according the special prosecutor's office. No trial date for Naize has been set.

Pretrial hearings and arraignments took place last week in Window Rock District Court for Naize and current and former council delegates from the Navajo Nation who special prosecutors allege engaged in bribery and conspiracy to enrich their families by "abusing the scarce resources of the Navajo Nation."

Two pretrial hearings and two arraignments took place.

The Navajo Nation Council established the discretionary fund to provide financial relief to needy constituents.

The special prosecutors said it took a long time to build the cases against the members and it has been expensive for the Navajo Nation to prosecute because many council delegates initially would not voluntarily provide information about the financial assistance program.

"That has finally changed," the statement from the special prosecutor's office said. "We finally have a number of cooperating witnesses that will allow us to bring these cases to trial to obtain justice for the Navajo Nation."

Council Delegate Edmund Yazzie who represents Churchrock, Iyanbito, Mariano Lake, Pinedale, Smith Lake, and Thoreau, told the special prosecutors that because the fund had no financial controls, "direct and indirect payments of financial assistance to household members became more and more common."

He said the fund became a "free for all where funds were often misused."

Council Delegate Nelson Begaye who represents Lukachukai, Round Rock, Tsaile/Wheatfields, Tse Ch'izhi and Rock Point, said "the way the financial assistance program was run was wrong and was the direct result of a lack of financial controls within the legislative branch."

Former council delegates Raymond Joe and Harry Williams, Sr. pleded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery, according to the statement from the special prosecutors.

"In those pleas, which were accepted by the Window Rock District Court, both Harry Williams Sr. and Raymond Joe gave detailed explanations about the payment of financial assistance to other council delegates in exchange for payments to their family members," the statement said.

The special prosecutor's office has filed criminal charges against 15 current or former council delegates and against one former legislative employee. In addition, the special prosecutor has filed complaints for violation of ethics in government law against 12 former and current council delegates.

Two criminal defendants have entered guilty pleas and the rest of the criminal cases are now moving toward trial in the Window Rock District Court. The ethics in government complaints are pending with the Navajo Nation Office of Hearing Appeals. Five of those cases have settled and the remaining cases are moving toward hearings.

    Recently Commented     Most Viewed
Mapmaker continues quest to document indigenous cultures
New documentary focuses on Native American veterans on Navajo Nation
Letter to the editor: Where do children learn to speak fluent Navajo?
Delegate Edmund Yazzie continues work for Thoreau, N.M. clinic
Pirates of the Navajo Nation under attack

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. The email and phone info you provide will not be visible to the public. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to 1300 characters or less. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit your comment entries to five(5) per day.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
Find more about Weather in Flagstaff, AZ
Click for weather forecast

Submission links
 •  Submit site feedback or questions

Find It Opinions Features Submit Extras Other Publications
Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Milestones | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS | Site Map
LB - Northland Motorsports

© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Navajo-Hopi Observer is the information source for the Navajo and Hopi Nations and Winslow area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Navajo-Hopi Observer Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the site's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Navajo-Hopi Observer Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved