42 pct. NMI officials fail to file 2013 statements on time

30-day grace period ends May 31

Almost 42 percent or 139 of 334 CNMI government officials required to file their 2013 statement of financial interest failed to meet the May 1 initial filing deadline, based on records obtained from the Office of the Public Auditor on Friday.

The late-filers have a 30-day grace period, which ends on May 31, before OPA starts imposing a $10 fine for each day of delinquency.

Wilma Atalig, OPA auditor for ethics and compliance, said that of the 334 certified filers, “195 individuals filed on or before the May 1st initial deadline.” That represents 58 percent of the total expected filers.

Eight other officials filed their statement of financial interest after the initial May 1 deadline and as of May 7, Wednesday, Atalig said.
Public Auditor Michael Pai, as early as March, began urging government officials to file their statement of financial interest for calendar year 2013 on time, or no later than May 1.

“Failure to file a properly completed and verified statement within the time required under the Act is subject to criminal and civil penalties, including up to $10 per day for periods of delinquency. Please note that OPA has no authority to make any exceptions to the filing requirements of the Act, nor can OPA remove names on DOF’s certified list,” Pai said in letters to officials.

OPA’s Atalig confirmed that Gov. Eloy S. Inos, Lt. Gov. Jude U. Hofschneider, 20 House of Representatives members, eight of nine senators, and other top officials were among those that timely filed their financial statements.

The bulk of late-filers are from boards and commissions, as well as directors.

Under 1 CMC Section 8511 of the Government Ethics Code Act, all elected and appointed CNMI officials, judicial officers, and executive department heads or directors are required to file a statement of financial interest. The statement includes government officials’ income, and financial interests in real estate, among other things.

Haidee V. Eugenio | Reporter
Haidee V. Eugenio has covered politics, immigration, business and a host of other news beats as a longtime journalist in the CNMI, and is a recipient of professional awards and commendations, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental achievement award for her environmental reporting. She is a graduate of the University of the Philippines Diliman.

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