CNMI SENATOR PROBED OVER $100,000 MISSPENDING

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By Ulysses Torres Sabuco

CNMI, Saipan (Marianas Variety, Aug. 7) - Senator Ramon S.
Guerrero will be investigated for allegedly misusing more than $100,000 in
public funds while he was the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.’s executive
director from 1990 to 1994, Variety learned.

The Attorney General’s Office is now looking into the
allegation, and may later decide to sue the senator, according to Senate
President Paul A. Manglona, R-Rota, and Senate Floor Leader Joaquin G. Adriano,
D-Tinian.

Although the statute of limitation for criminal liability has
already lapsed, Guerrero may be asked to repay the government through a civil
lawsuit, the Senate leaders said.

Asked for comment, Guerrero said "that is their
prerogative."

He said the Senate leadership "can (do) what they want to
do —I am more concerned (about) the well-being of the people."

Guerrero, American Reform-Saipan, is seeking a second term in
November.

Adriano said the ongoing AGO investigation is the reason why
they oppose Guerrero’s appointment as the new Senate vice president.

"We have requested the AG to continue (looking) into the
allegation...that (Guerrero) misused ($100,000) during his term in CUC. So we
have received a letter (from) the AG, saying they are now in a position to
pursue that investigation," Adriano said.

"So why would you promote a (senator) to a higher position
when he is under investigation? I do not see any logic here...to continue
pushing (Guerrero) to get that position," Adriano said.

He added, "It is only fair for both sides now to wait until
the special election on Tinian and Rota (are held), then we will entertain the
position of (the) Senate vice president."

On July 21, acting Attorney General Clyde Lemons told Sen. Diego
M. Songao, Covenant-Rota, that the statute of limitation for the filing of
criminal charges against Guerrero had already lapsed.

But Lemons indicated that the government could file a civil case
against Guerrero.

According to Lemons, "if the court determines (that) the
government’s (civil) suit is asserting public right on behalf of all of the
citizens of the CNMI then the statute of limitations will not act as a bar to
such a lawsuit."

August 7, 2003

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com 

 

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