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Ex-lawmaker charged with Ethics Act violations, misconduct in public office

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FORMER Precinct 1 Rep. Gregorio Vicente Muna Sablan Jr. has been charged with two counts of violating financial interest disclosure requirements and two counts of misconduct in public office.

Gregorio Sablan Jr.

On Dec. 28, 2019, he was summoned to appear before the Superior Court on Jan. 6, 2010. He appeared with his counsel, Mark Scoggins, while Assistant Attorney General Chester Hinds represented the government.

Sablan, 53, pled not guilty. A status conference was set for Feb. 25, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. before Judge Kenneth L. Govendo.

In his minute order on Jan. 6, 2020, the judge said Sablan must return to court whenever required to do so; obey all CNMI and federal laws; not leave Saipan without the court’s permission; and stay away from all seaports and airports.

The judge also directed the parties to advise the court whether the matter “will be disposed of by change of plea, trial or other disposition.”

The Office of the Public Auditor investigated the case.

According to the amended information filed by the Office of the Attorney General, Sablan, on or about April 24, 2018, was serving as a member of the 20th House of Representatives when he filed a Statement of Public Interest for 2017 as required by CNMI law.

“On that Statement of Financial Interest,” the information stated, “Defendant provided false or inaccurate information which violated [the] CNMI Ethics Act of 1992, to wit: Defendant failed to disclose that he was an officer, director, associate, partner, proprietor or employee…in any professional, business or other organization other than the Commonwealth government…he derived an income in excess of $2,500 from the Saipan International Shooting Range Inc. in violation of 1 CMC § 8517, and made punishable by 1 CMC § 8517 and 1 CMC § 7851.”

The AG’s office alleged that Sablan committed the same offense on May 20, 2019 when he filed a Statement of Public Interest for 2018 that did not disclose his income from Saipan International Shooting Range.

Misconduct in public office is punishable by a maximum one-year prison term and a $1,000 fine or both for each count.

A willful violation of financial disclosure requirements is punishable by a “fine of not less than $500 or not more than $1,000, or by imprisonment for a period of not more than six months, or by both” for each count.

One of the Republicans elected to the House in 2016, Sablan did not win a second term in the 2018 elections.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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