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.
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.
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