CNMI WATER OFFICIAL SENTENCED TO 1 YEAR IN JAIL

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SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Sept. 21) –A United States District Court judge on Saipan yesterday imposed a one-year jail term on former Commonwealth Utilities Corp. water division laboratory manager Pedro Q. Babauta, who was convicted of submitting false documents to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Alex R. Munson sentenced Babauta, the governor’s first cousin, to 12 months in prison for each of two counts of submitting false documents, to be served concurrently.

Babauta will serve a total of 12 months for the two offenses.

Babauta was found guilty of changing the positive test results for the presence of coliform bacteria and fecal coliform bacteria to negative for CUC’s public water system.

Concealing such test results, he said, exposed many people on Saipan to bacteria and posed dangers to their health and well-being.

Munson said after completing the jail term, the defendant will be placed on three years of supervised release.

The judge ordered Babauta to pay immediately a $5,000 fine and a $200 court assessment fee.

During the probationary period, the defendant is required to perform 200 hours of community work service.

The judge also directed the defendant to pay the $1,933 monthly cost for his imprisonment.

But Munson allowed the temporary release of Babauta pending the designation of the jail facility.

[PIR editor’s note: The CNMI Department of Corrections says the new facility is expected to open in February, 2006.]

September 21, 2005

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

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