Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman has allowed the Senate and Reps. Janet U. Maratita (Ind-Saipan) and Ray Anthony N. Yumul (R-Saipan) to serve former attorney general Edward T. Buckingham with their summons and complaint by publication for the summons in a newspaper.
Wiseman issued the order on Friday after plaintiffs the Senate and Reps. Maratita and Yumul filed a motion to allow service by publication on Buckingham, who was recently declared by the court fugitive from justice.
The judge ordered that Buckingham shall be served by publication of the summons in at least one newspaper published and having a general circulation in the CNMI.
“Publication shall be made once each week for four successive weeks, and the last publication shall be not less than 21 days prior to the return date,” Wiseman said.
Attorney Ramon K. Quichocho, counsel for the plaintiffs, stated in the motion that Buckingham, a court-declared fugitive from justice, cannot be found or served within the CNMI.
Quichocho said Buckingham is sued in this lawsuit because of the serious breach of trust and breach of fiduciary in “committing the good people of the CNMI to a guaranteed $190- million dirty diesel power plant contract.”
The lawyer said pursuant to a Commonwealth Code, the court “may order that service be made by publication of the summons in at least one newspaper published and having a general circulation in the Commonwealth.”
The Senate and Reps. Maratita and Yumul are suing Gov. Benigno R. Fitial, former AG Buckingham, Commonwealth Utilities Corp., and Saipan Development LLC.
Acting AG Viola Alepuyo substituted herself for Buckingham because Buckingham had already resigned as AG.
The plaintiffs asked the court to declare that the 25-year power purchase agreement is “unconstitutional, illegal, unconscionable, and unjust, and therefore, cancelled.”
Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman recently issued a preliminary injunction that prohibit Fitial and co-defendants from pursuing all agreements associated or related to the $190.8-million power purchase agreement.
Preliminary injunction refers to a court order issued in the early stages of a lawsuit which enjoins or prohibits a party or parties from performing an act in order to preserve the status quo until a pending ruling or outcome.