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Governor to justify expenditures

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REGARDING the House Special Committee on Fiscal Review of Executive Expenditures investigation, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said he is preparing a justification for his expenditures.

“[There’s] a lot of scrutiny on different purchases and stuff, so I will be happy to make those justifications when the time is right,” he said during a press briefing Friday on KKMP radio.

“I do know that all of the reimbursements that I’ve done were [made] in the best interest [of the CNMI]…. Whatever their concerns are, I’ll be happy to make that justification on the reimbursements moving forward.”

Secretary of Finance David DLG Atalig was subpoenaed by the special committee on Thursday for failing to comply with the request to submit all documents in the custody of his department pertaining to executive expenditures.

The special committee said the documents should not be redacted.

On KKMP radio, Secretary Atalig said, “I did receive the subpoena  [Thursday]. My staff is working on those documents as requested on the subpoena. We will be reviewing those documents and we will be seeking legal counsel to ensure that we don’t invade any personal and private information.”

 

The House Special Committee on Fiscal Review of Executive Expenditures convenes on Thursday in the House Chamber. Photo by K-Andrea Evarose S. Limol

He added, “We will comply. I have until Aug. 4 to submit these documents.”

Chaired by Rep. Ralph Yumul, the special committee is composed of Vice Speaker Lorenzo Deleon Guerrero, House Floor Leader John Paul Sablan, House Minority Leader Edwin Propst, Reps. Luis John Castro, Donald Manglona, Tina Sablan, and Edmund Villagomez.

The special committee was created by Speaker Blas Jonathan “BJ” Attao in early July to investigate “issues and serious implications that have been officially raised relative to the executive expenditures of [the governor].”

These include the promotional trip to the Northern Islands in June and July.

Asked if federal agents searched his vessel upon his return from the Northern Islands, Gov. Torres said he has “no knowledge [if] that vessel was actually searched. When I [arrived on] Saipan, we got our stuff — no rush.  I got  off  the boat, met with the family, and then I saw some agents, and then I left shortly after.”

For its part, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it could not comment on an ongoing investigation.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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