Former CNMI Official Arrested On Corruption Charges

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Aging Office Director allegedly used funds to help political party

By Ferdie De La Torre

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, June 30, 2014) – Former Office on Aging director Rose DLG. Mondala was arrested and taken to Superior Court on Friday, after the Office of the Public Auditor charged her with using the office’s funds and materials for the needs of the Covenant Party during the 2009 elections and to build a fence at her house in Kagman.

Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho imposed a $7,500 cash bail for the 69-year-old Mondala, who is being held on charges of theft; theft of services; forgery; use of office, staff or employees of public office; restraints on use of public position to obtain benefits for business or social acquaintances; restraints on use of public supplies, time and personnel for campaign activities; and misconduct in public office.

Preliminary hearing will be on July 12 at 1:30pm.

OPA investigator Juanette F. David-Atalig stated in her report that the investigation began in September 2009 when their office received a complaint that then-Office on Aging director Mondala was using the office’s kitchen and staff to prepare food for the Covenant Party’s political rally.

David-Atalig said the tipster disclosed that Mondala used government funds and materials to purchase goods for this rally and that at the time, Mondala was responsible for the hotdog stand for that occasion.

OPA received another anonymous tip in December 2010 that Mondala allegedly used funds that were allocated for the Tinian Office on Aging to purchase materials for her house in Kagman.

The tipster identified a former government employee who could provide more information and possible evidence to support the allegations against Mondala.

OPA chief investigator Juan Santos interviewed in February 2012 that former government employee, who provided Santos with copies of invoices that she kept as proof that Mondala was misusing local and federal funds for her personal benefit as well as providing for the needs of the Covenant Party during the 2009 elections.

The former government employee disclosed that Mondala once admitted to her that she forged her signatures on several invoices that identify purchases for $2,949 between September and December 2009.

The former government employee said Mondala not only instructed her to destroy the invoices but on at least one occasion she was also instructed to deliver these items to the Covenant Party headquarters on Middle Road, Saipan.

OPA identified an invoice from Luen Fung Enterprises, which indicates six cases of Bar S Jumbo Franks that were purchased on Nov. 6, 2009, through a government purchase order.

The following day, another purchase was made at the Hafa Adai Bakery for 126 bags of hotdog buns.

Mondala allegedly forged the former government employee’s signature on both of these invoices. The items were used for a political function and that they were delivered to the Covenant Party headquarters.

A kitchen staff at the Office on Aging also disclosed that during the 2009 elections, Mondala allowed Covenant Party supporters to use their kitchen to cook for the party’s political functions.

Another Office on Aging staff said that on three occasions, Mondala asked him to cook some food for a Covenant Party event. Mondala allegedly instructed him to use the Office on Aging kitchen and supplies.

An OPA auditor examined a large amount of documents including purchase orders, invoices, and other documents related to the Office on Aging kitchen and its supplies.

Excessive and frequent purchases were made to only two vendors: Oscar B. Camacho and Blue Marlin I.

David-Atalig said Camacho is Mondala’s half-brother, while the owner of Blue Marlin I is her close friend, former Department of Public Safety deputy commissioner Ambrosio Ogumoro.

Camacho’s business license expired in November 2008, but six purchase orders were issued to Camacho dated after the expiration date of his license totaling $5,473.50.

Kitchen staff revealed that Mondala often purchased more vegetables from Camacho than the kitchen could possibly use and that many times the vegetables would rot and had to be thrown away.

With respect to Ogumoro’s Blue Marlin I, a kitchen supervisor disclosed that on average, she would order three to four cases of frozen fish to feed the senior citizens at least once a week.

The OPA auditor’s analysis of the purchases from Blue Marlin I show that the fresh fish purchases in heavy quantities do not correspond to the kitchen supervisor’s statements that the officer orders fish from wholesalers and not usually from fresh fish vendors.

David-Atalig cited as an example an invoice on Dec. 12, 2010, in the amount of $1,136.15 and also an invoice on the same date in the amount of $2,500. These two purchases on the same date were for 775.7 lbs of fresh reef fish.

The Office on Aging kitchen supervisor was told that only Ogumoro was allowed to pick up leftover food and spoiled vegetables from their office. In exchange, he allegedly promised to provide a roast pig for any special event at the Man’Amko center. The supervisor told the OPA investigator she has never seen any roast pig from Ogumoro for the senior citizens.

The former employee also disclosed that in that same year, Mondala instructed her to pick up materials from Transamerica Hardware Store in Garapan and deliver the items to Mondala’s house in Kagman.

The former employee provided OPA with four invoices for the items that were used to build a fence around Mondala’s house. Two Office on Aging employees were used to build the fence.

Mondala allegedly used the Office on Aging pickup truck to pick up the two employees from their residence and brought them to her house to work.

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