CNMI STIMULUS OFFICE ON GUARD FOR FRAUD

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Potential cases under investigation

By Raquel Bagnol

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Jan. 14, 2010)—The CNMI American Recovery and Economic Act office has vowed to be transparent and to prevent all potential fraud.

"Our office has worked diligently to maintain the highest level of transparency and accountability with ARRA funds," information technology and communications manager for the CNMI ARRA office Fred Camacho said.

Michael Janiga of the U.S. Inspector General’s Office recently conducted training to ensure that federal funds are expended appropriately, Camacho added.

"We learned a lot, and have always been committed to a constructive working relationship with federal officials," Camacho said.

ARRA is a new federal program with unique guidelines and regulations, he added.

Camacho said during Janiga’s presentation, potential "red flags" facing the CNMI in its efforts to expend ARRA funding were raised.

He said they have increased their level of diligence in ensuring that all ARRA funding comply with federal and local regulations.

"The ARRA office is working closely with both our local Attorney General’s Office as well as with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to investigate any and all potential cases of fraud."

According to Camacho, there are multiple cases of potential fraud currently under review and investigation. He declined to discuss specifics.

"We are extremely careful with public funds and encourage all agencies dealing with ARRA funding to work closely with our office to ensure that all guidelines and regulations are being met," Camacho said.

The CNMI ARRA Web site, www.cnmiarra.net, is linked to www. Recovery.gov.

Camacho said all requests for proposals, invitations to bid, and other ARRA-related documents need to be posted on this site for the appropriate amount of time.

For more information, call 664-3010.

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