SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Feb. 12) - The Office of the Public Auditor is investigating Rep. Gloria DLC. Cabrera as well as other government officials and employees who play poker during work hours, and who drive government vehicles to go to poker arcades.

Public Auditor Mike Sablan, in an interview, said OPA is also looking into several poker establishments reportedly providing "special parking spaces" for government officials and employees.

He said the Department of Public Safety, OPA and the Attorney General’s Office "are working together on these investigations."

"We appreciate the media for reporting these kinds of incidents. We read the newspaper and we do determine whether an investigation is necessary," Sablan said.

"Public servants, especially elected officials, should preserve the dignity of their office. They need to recognize that they play a critical role in setting good examples," he said.

The CNMI Government Ethics Code states that there is a need to "develop public confidence in persons seeking or holding public office, enhance the dignity of the offices and make them attractive to citizens who are motivated to public service."

Penalties for violating the Government Ethics Code include removal from office and a fine of not more than $500.

But the public auditor said Cabrera may not be cited for time and attendance regulations violations as she is not working on an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. basis.

February 12, 2003

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