Senators adopted on Thursday a House joint resolution urging Gov. Eloy S. Inos to concur with and support Attorney General Joey Patrick San Nicolas’ earlier opinion that former governor Benigno R. Fitial “had no authority” to enter into a $190.8-million power purchase agreement with Saipan Development LLC.
Senators approved House Joint Resolution 18-6 months after the House adopted it.
The resolution basically reaffirms the Legislature’s sentiment that what Fitial did was not within his authority to enter into an agreement on behalf of CUC and that CUC procurement rules were not followed, rendering the contract moot, its proponents said.
The resolution was introduced by five House members led by Rep. Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan).
Fitial’s signing of the $190.8-million PPA with SDLLC was among the House’s bases for impeaching the former governor on 18 charges of corruption, commission of felony, and neglect of duty.
Fitial resigned on Feb. 20, just days before the start of his impeachment trial at the Senate.
The former governor, on behalf of CUC, and former attorney general Edward Buckingham, now awaiting trial, signed the power deal with SDLLC on Aug. 3, 2012. That power purchase deal became known to lawmakers and most of the CNMI only after a copy was leaked to the media weeks later, drawing uproar from the community and government officials. A taxpayers’ lawsuit was also filed against Fitial, Buckingham, CUC, and the Delaware-based SDLLC.