The Navajo Nation has filed criminal complaints against its former controller Pearline Kirk, 52, who was relieved of her duties on May 19, 2021 because of “irregularities” between the Office of the Controller and Agile Technologies regarding unlawful COVID-19 testing on the Navajo Nation.
The new criminal complaints allege Kirk committed violations of Title 17 of the Navajo Nation Code, which include obtaining a signature by deception, paying or receiving government funds for services not rendered, and falsification, according to the Navajo Department of Justice.
Want more Native News? Get the free daily newsletter today.
The complaints allege Kirk misled and deceived Navajo officials into approving a contract for over $3 million to hire a COVID-19 testing company, Agile Technologies LLC, to serve the 110 employees at the Office of Controller, which translates into almost $27,000 per person to be served.
Even though testing for COVID-19 was available through Indian Health Service, the Controller’s Office maintains the results were slow. Therefore, Kirk recommended that the office engage with Agile Technologies, which produces rapid testing for COVID-19.
The Navajo Nation says Agile Technologies did not report their test results to tribal health authorities, did not provide contact tracing, and failed to protect personal health information with their test samples.
The funds paid to Agile Technologies came from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds received by the Navajo Nation to assist the tribe with COVID-19 needs, such as testing.
Kirk, who is a certified public accountant and has a juris doctor degree, was employed as the Navajo Nation’s controller from February 2017 until her termination in May by the Navajo Nation Tribal Council. She was paid $225,000 annually.
More Stories Like ThisState-Funded Charter School Says Native 1st-Grader's Traditional Hair Violates Dress Code
Rep. Peltola, Sen. Mullin Introduce Legislation to Protect 2nd Amendment Rights of Native Americans
Navajo Nation Mourns Loss of Former President Ben Shelly
Native American Church Chapter Sues Bank for Racial and Religious Discrimination
Legislature Moves to Name Highway after Blackfeet Chief
12 years of Native News
This month, we celebrate our 12th year of delivering Native News to readers throughout Indian Country and beyond. For the past dozen years, we’ve covered the most important news stories that are usually overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM), to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous People (MMIP) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools.
Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps. If you’re in a position to do so, we ask you to consider making a recurring donation of $12 per month to help us remain a force for change in Indian Country and to tell the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.