By Gabriela Silva Ponte, Racy Rafique and Jake MacAndrew
The Toronto Metropolitan Students’ Union (TMSU) is investigating “questionable financial transactions” from the 2021-22 fiscal year, according to an email sent to its members and obtained by The Eyeopener.
In the email, TMSU president Marina Gerges said the transactions came to light when the students’ union was preparing for its annual audit.
The transactions under investigation are from May 1, 2021 to April 30, 2022, according to the statement. This was during the previous executive team’s term, under president Siddhanth Satish, said Gerges.
In a call with The Eye, Gerges said the students’ union began investigating at the end of August 2022, after the former financial controller was let go and the TMSU was given access to the documents in his possession.
In the email, Gerges said the TMSU has been consulting with legal counsel and external accountants to review its financial history as well as to “provide recommendations to ensure that financial mismanagement does not occur again in the future.”
The preliminary investigative report was provided to the TMSU on Feb. 23 and an overview was presented by the TMSU’s legal counsel during an in-camera session at the Board of Directors meeting on Feb. 24, executive director Reanna Maharaj confirmed to The Eye.
“We have updated the University on the report and the actions that the organization may be taking,” said Gerges in the statement.
Gerges added that the TMSU cannot disclose the report at this time since it is “legally privileged” and would “jeopardize legal action against the previous executives.”
“We know these issues are important to our members and the broader TMU community. Despite a number of hurdles and obstacles throughout the year, the 2022-2023 TMSU Board of Directors has continued to work in the best interest of TMU students,” read Gerges’ statement.
Gerges said the TMSU will provide further updates as they become available.
“We are committed to being as open and transparent as possible and will provide further updates as they become available.”
Gerges said legal counsel is currently working on the first step of the lawsuit.
She added that the report cannot be released to the student population now but that “once it’s disclosed to the defendants, [she] wouldn’t be surprised if it somehow ended up in the hands of students.”
This story has been updated with more information and comment.