The Office of the Public Auditor formally filed yesterday 15 criminal charges against Department of Public Safety deputy commissioner Ambrosio T. Ogumoro in connection with his role in the alleged conspiracy to shield former attorney general Edward T. Buckingham from being served a penal summons.
OPA legal counsel and designated special prosecutor George L. Hasselback filed an information in the Superior Court on behalf of the CNMI government over the incident between Aug. 3 and 4, 2012 when Buckingham and his wife were “escorted” from the Aquarius Beach Tower Hotel to the Saipan airport.
The information charged the 54-year-old Ogumoro with eight counts of misconduct in public office.
The seven other charges include conspiracy to commit theft of services, theft of services, conspiracy to commit obstructing justice: interference with service of process, obstructing justice: interference with service of process, conspiracy to commit obstructing justice: interference with a law enforcement officer or witness, obstructing justice: interference with a law enforcement officer or witness, and criminal coercion.
On Monday, Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman allowed Ogumoro to post a $1,000 cash bail and $9,000 unsecured bond.
Due to OPA's investigation plus administrative complaints filed by some employees at the Department of Public Safety against Ogumoro, DPS Commissioner James Deleon Guerrero terminated Ogumoro's contract as DPS deputy commissioner effective March 24.
With respect to the charges of misconduct in public office charge, Hasselback stated that Ogumoro, as a sworn law-enforcement officers of the CNMI, “used his influence and position to conspire with one or more persons to see that services over which they had control but to which a particular individual was not entitled were diverted to that individual's benefit, being on notice that such actions violated provisions of the Commonwealth Criminal Code and were, therefore, illegal.”
Hasselback stated in the charging information that the defendant, being a public official, conspired to knowingly obstruct, resist or oppose the service of a penal summons by the Superior Court by persons duly authorized to effectuate such service.
The special prosecutor said Ogumoro, being a public official, knowingly obstructed, resisted and/or opposed the attempted service of the court's penal summons by shielding the target (Buckingham) of the summons from attempts to serve him.
Hasselback said Ogumoro, being a public official, conspired to unlawfully resist or interfere with a law enforcement officer in the lawful pursuit of their duties, being service of the court's summons.
Hasselback said, the defendant, being a public official, unlawfully resisted and or interfered with the efforts of OPA employees in their attempts to effectuate service of the summons.
The special prosecutor said Ogumoro, as a “police officer,” did not make diligent effort to serve the summons either personally or through another police officer despite having knowledge of the existence of such penal summons.
Hasselback said Ogumoro, acting in his official capacity as a management-level employee of DPS, did threaten to have arrested a particular OPA investigator if she continued in her legal efforts to serve the penal summons.
On other charges, Hasselback said Ogumoro conspired with one or more management-level persons within DPS, the Commonwealth Ports Authority, and other government agencies to provide an armed escort to Buckingham, consisting of multiple public employees driving public vehicles, being compensated pursuant to their public employment using public funds.
As to criminal coercion charge, the special prosecutor alleged that Ogumoro threatened to have arrested a particular OPA investigator if she continued in her legal efforts to serve the summons upon Buckingham.