Park Board employee facing fraud charges

Park board chair has refused to say if the CFO is currently on paid or unpaid leave from his position at the Cultus Lake Park Board.

Cultus Lake Park Board’s manager of financial services, who was placed on forced leave and is facing fraud charges, allegedly misrepresented his professional credentials, says a concerned resident.

Cultus Lake leaseholder Rick Williamson said email correspondence regularly sent out by Siamak Saidi on behalf of the Park Board indicated he was chartered accountant (CA), as well as chartered management accountant (CMA).

But Chartered Management Accountants B.C. spokesman Rick Lightheart told The Progress that Saidi was never qualified to use the designation of CMA.

“When I was advised that this individual was using the CMA designation, I wrote him a cease and desist letter in late August,” said Lightheart.

The letter pointed out that the use of the CMA designation is protected by provincial statute, and only to be used by certified members of the CMABC society.

Saidi was only a student member from 2001-02, he added.

Last week the Chartered Accountants of B.C. ran an ad in a Vancouver daily newspaper, saying Saidi could not use his company, Siamak Saidi Limited, to conduct public accounting.

“Siamak Saidi Ltd. is not and has never been licensed to carry on the practice of public accounting in British Columbia,” the ad reads.

“As such Siamak Saidi Ltd. is not entitled to use the designation ‘Chartered Accountant’ or used the initials ‘CA’ signifying that designation, and Siamak Saidi, CA is not authorized to carry on the practice of public accounting at or in association with Siamak Saidi Ltd., or otherwise.”

Park board chair Sasha Peter refused to say if Saidi is currently on paid or unpaid leave from his position at the Park Board.

Last month, Simon Fraser University filed a civil claim in B.C. Supreme Court, alleging he submitted false invoices in his previous job as finance director in the faculty of science at Simon Fraser University.

The civil suit states that Saidi’s alleged actions have damaged the university.

“Saidi’s wrongful conduct was directed at SFU for the purpose of causing harm and loss to SFU or to gain improper personal benefit for himself or for others as directed by him, and with the knowledge of Saidi that his actions would, or would likely, cause harm to SFU.”

The university is seeking total compensation of $846,926. An order has been granted to freeze Saidi’s assets, including the three properties in question.

An RCMP investigation led to Saidi being charged earlier this month with fraud over $5,000, theft over $5,000, forgery and using a forged document.

In light of the allegations, which have not been proven in court, Cultus Lake Park Board issued an official statement saying nothing was amiss at Cultus Lake Park in terms of the financials.

“Staff of Cultus Lake Park have completed a thorough review of all accounts and investments. No unauthorized financial transactions have been observed,” reads a statement posted on the park board website.

But Williamson says that’s not enough. He said the park board has ample cause for dismissal.

Peters said he won’t comment on the matter while it remains before the courts.

“Anything material to the public interest on the matter will be disclosed in media releases in a timely manner,” he added.

— with files from Vikki Hopes of The Abbotsford News