September 23, 2005
Shoddy handling of evidence at DPS
The Department of Public Safety lacks adequate safekeeping measures for evidence, making such items vulnerable to loss or tampering, according to a report by the Office of the Public Auditor. The report, issued by OPA yesterday, covers an examination of evidence received and stored through June 2004. “The apparently lack of accountability in the handling and storage of evidence may have adversely impacted the integrity of some of the evidence in DPS custody. The absence of adequate controls increased the risk of potential tampering, loss, or misuse of evidence,” OPA said. “If left uncorrected, DPS may potentially compromise future investigations or criminal proceedings.”
Korean firms lead foreign investors in NMI
Koreans remain number one on the list of top foreign investors in the CNMI this year, Commerce Department statistics showed. As of August 2005, records show that the government received 208 applications from foreign investors to do business in the CNMI. Of the total number, 89 investors are from South Korea, 40 are from China, 45 are from Japan, and 27 are from the Philippines. Others include eight from the United Kingdom, six from “others,” two from Thailand, and one from India.
September 23, 2006
Bond eyed to settle land compensation claims
The Department of Public Lands may float another multimillion bond to settle all pending land compensation claims. In an interview, DPL Secretary John S. Del Rosario Jr. said the Department of Finance is studying the possibility of floating $40 million to $60 million by next year. There are about 300 landowners still waiting to be compensated for pieces of property taken from them by the government. “We will try to settle all of these claims once and for all,” Del Rosario said. In 2002, Public Law 13-17 or the Land Compensation Act was enacted to allow the defunct Marianas Public Lands Authority to incur a $40-million public debt to finance the settlement of private land acquisitions.
Norita finally gets CPA post
No more ifs and buts. The new Commonwealth Ports Authority board finally did yesterday what it had been wanting to do: to hire former congressman Clyde Norita as the new executive director of the agency. The newly reorganized board had opted to cancel the issuance of a new job vacancy announcement—as has been decided two days earlier—and met yesterday instead to hire Norita with no further delays. The board, led by chair Rex I. Palacios, convened at 10am yesterday and adjourned after about 30 minutes, declaring Norita as the new executive director. Norita’s hiring was unanimously approved by the board. The board consists of Palacios, Serafin Dela Cruz, Barbara Yamada, Jose R. Lifoifoi, Antonio Camacho, Melchor A. Mendiola, and Connie O. Igisomar.
September 23, 2007
Govt agencies owe CUC $1.4M
The government and autonomous agencies owe the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.’s a total of $1.4 million in utility billings for the month of July and August 2007. According to CUC records, of the government’s $1,439,616 total August utility balance as of Aug. 31, 2007, the Public School System incurred the most with $1,032,647. Being the biggest agency, PSS has consistently been the top utility user among all government entities.
High court affirms conviction in sex abuse
The CNMI Supreme Court has affirmed the Superior Court’s conviction of a man for sexually abusing a child. The trial court’s decision to deny defendant Price Shoiter’s request for a special prosecutor was not based on a clearly erroneous finding of material fact or law, according to the high court. “We find that the due process clause of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands does not require a hearing to determine the voluntariness of confessions made to private individuals,” the justices said. The decision, penned by associate justice Alexandro C. Castro and concurred by chief justice Miguel S. Demapan and associate justice John A. Manglona, ruled that under the circumstances of the case, the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it did not disqualify the prosecuting attorney.