Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman allowed police deputy commissioner Ambrosio T. Ogumoro yesterday to post a $1,000 cash bail and $9,000 unsecured bond for his temporary release in connection with his role in the alleged conspiracy to shield former attorney general Edward T. Buckingham from being served a penal summons.
As this developed, Office of the Public Auditor special prosecutor George L. Hasselback filed yesterday in court an information charging Jermaine Joseph Wabol Nekaifes with 11 criminal charges. Nekaifes used to serve as personal driver and bodyguard of former governor Benigno R. Fitial.
The charges against Nekaifes include conspiracy to commit theft of services, obstructing justice, interference with service of process, interference with a law enforcement officer or witness, and misconduct in public office.
Ogumoro, Nekaifes, Commonwealth Ports Authority police chief Jordon Kosam, and CPA's Capt. Juan Rebuenog all appeared in court yesterday.
Presiding Judge Robert Naraja reset Nekaifes' arraignment to today, Tuesday, at 9am, after his lawyer, former judge Timothy Bellas, asked for more time to review the charging information and other documents.
The arraignment for Kosam, and Rebuenog was also reset to April 22 at 9am.
Nekaifes, Kosam, and Rebuenog were arrested on March 6 for their alleged participation in a coordinated effort by several persons to shield Buckingham from being served the penal summons in August last year. The three were subsequently released after each posted a $500 cash bail.
OPA has also issued penal summons against Fitial but he has yet to be served as he is currently off-island.
Wiseman issued an arrest warrant against Ogumoro on March 6, 2013, on charges of conspiracy to commit obstructing justice, interference with law enforcement officer or witness, criminal coercion, theft of services, misconduct in public office, and obstructing justice, among others. Wiseman set a $10,000 cash bail for Ogumoro.
Last Friday, Wiseman held the arrest warrant in abeyance at the request of Ogumoro's lawyer, Douglas Cushnie, and directed Ogumoro to appear in court yesterday at 9am. Wiseman also ordered Ogumoro to remain at his residence until his scheduled appearance in court yesterday.
Ogumoro arrived at past 12am Sunday from an official trip in Canada and was handed a termination letter effective March 24.
At yesterday's initial court appearance, Wiseman allowed Ogumoro to post 10 percent or $1,000 of his $10,000 cash bail plus $9,000 unsecured bond.
Cushnie requested that his client be allowed to post a $500 cash bail-the same bail imposed on Nekaifes, Rebuenog, and Kosam-but Wiseman rejected this, saying the three acted as subordinates of Ogumoro as OPA alleged.
Wiseman required Ogumoro to surrender his passport and all DPS items or property issued to him.
Ogumoro was ordered to stay away from the airport and prohibited from having contact with potential witnesses, among other conditions.
Ogumoro will be arraigned on April 22 at 9am.
Cushnie told reporters after the hearing that the public should be reminded that there are two sides to a story.
In his affidavit supporting the arrest warrant against Ogumoro, OPA chief investigator Juan M. Santos stated that late on the evening of Aug. 3, 2012, and during the early morning hours of Aug. 4, 2012, Ogumoro briefed police officers Stanley Patris and Myron Laniyo about escorting Buckingham and his wife from the Aquarius Hotel to the Saipan airport.
Ogumoro allegedly emphasized to the two that the main objective of the escort was to ensure that no persons are allowed to approach the Buckinghams other than those directly involved in the escort.
Santos said that Ogumoro stressed that no member of the escort was to leave from his assignment until he (Ogumoro) gives the “all clear” order.
At the airport, Rebuenog allegedly gave Patris and Laniyo two CPA passes that would allow them to pass through the secure area of the airport, with the intention of preventing FBI agents from serving the summons upon Buckingham.
Patris and Laniyo allegedly expressed concern to Rebuenog about the ramifications of the order and their ability to legally carry it out but Rebuenog reportedly told them that the order directly came from Ogumoro and that Ogumoro have cleared them.
An FBI special agent eventually managed to serve Buckingham with the penal summons shortly before the Delta Air Lines flight for Japan took off in the early morning hours of Aug. 4, 2012. Buckingham, who is reportedly in the U.S. mainland, has been declared a fugitive from justice.