Indians force huge US accounting project
The US government is to undertake a massive accounting project to determine how much is owed to 350,000 Native Americans in royalties for use of Indian lands.
Link: For more audit news
The move comes after a court bust up in which lawyers acting for the Native Americans claimed that their could be more than $137bn (£85bn) of unpaid royalties.
A US district judge has ordered the US Interior Department and the plaintiff’s lawyers to come up with a plan by May to settle the issue.
Individual American Indians were allotted parcels of land in 1887 but the US Congress made the Interior Department responsible for managing oil, gas and timber royalties.
However, the royalties have suffered from chronic mismanagement and in many cases the royalties were never collected leading to the need for a huge accounting project to bring records up to date.