Commonwealth Utilities Corp. officials won't show up in today's joint hearings of the House Committees on Public Utilities, Transportation and Communications and the Judiciary and Government Operations on the no-bid $190.8-million power purchase agreement, also because of alleged deficient notice to appear.
This comes days after CUC officials were also a no-show at the Special Committee on Impeachment's hearing on the 25-year power deal last Friday, because of what the CUC legal counsel described as a deficient notice.
House JGO Committee chair Ralph Demapan (Cov-Saipan) and House PUTC Committee chair Stanley Torres (Ind-Saipan) subpoenaed on Sept. 19 CUC acting executive director Alan Fletcher and CUC deputy director for power Wallon Young to testify on the power deal.
CUC legal counsel and assistant attorney general Rebecca Wrightson said in letters to Demapan and Torres that the subpoenas are, “in several respects, deficient of the requirements mandated by Commonwealth Code Title 1, Sections 1301-1303.”
“Therefore, Mr. Fletcher and Mr. Young will not be appearing to testify at the Committee's hearing. Should the Committee decide to re-issue subpoenas that comply with the Commonwealth Code, Mr. Fletcher and Mr. Young will appear as requested,” Wrightson said.
A person being served a subpoena needs to be given at least five days to testify, unless a shorter time is necessary. If a shorter time is necessary, it has to be approved by the majority of the members of a committee.
Demapan, in an interview yesterday, said the joint committee will “revise and re-issue” subpoenas to CUC officials “to address CUC's concerns.”
He said because Fletcher will be off-island for days, the committee will reset the hearing for a later date, to wait for Fletcher's return.
On Friday, the Special Committee on Impeachment chaired by House minority leader Joe Deleon Guerrero (R-Saipan) said the non-appearance of three CUC officials had more to do with “miscommunication or lack of communication” between Fletcher and CUC's legal counsel on the accommodation that the panel extended to Fletcher.
The impeachment panel subpoenaed Fletcher, Young, and chief financial officer Charles Warren to testify before the committee reviewing a resolution impeaching Gov. Benigno R. Fitial.
House Resolution 17-111, authored by the House minority bloc, listed 16 articles of impeachment for felony, corruption and neglect of duty.
Among the issues involved is the sole-source $190.8-million power purchase deal that Fitial signed along with then attorney general Edward T. Buckingham, a day before the latter left Saipan despite being served a penal summons to appear in court two days later in connection with criminal charges filed against him.
The impeachment committee will resume its meeting today.