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Sunday, April 20, 2014

CPA board member pushes aggressive collection of arrears

Citing the lessons it learned from its experience with Freedom Air, a Commonwealth Ports Authority board member wants a more aggressive effort in collecting the agency’s receivables.

Benigno Sablan, who chairs the seaports facilities committee, disclosed Friday that at least eight companies doing business in CNMI seaports alone are behind in their obligations and must be dealt with seriously.

He cited the outstanding payables of Fas Moving & Storage, which has $30,000 in arrears. The company, he said, has not been paying CPA since April 2011.

Sablan pointed out that in the event the company decides to file for bankruptcy, CPA may again potentially lose a substantial amount, similar to its experience with Freedom Air which owes CPA $1.2 million. With Freedom Air filing for bankruptcy, CPA has yet to collect from the company as everything is in status quo pursuant to the court filing.

“We learned our lesson from Freedom Air and we need to be vigilant. We need to communicate with our clients about their arrears such as Fas Moving because we will lose $30,000 if it decides to file for bankruptcy,” Sablan told fellow board members during Friday’s meeting at the seaport.

Another company, Ginen Saipan, is said to be three months behind in its payments, while Saipan Cell & Paging is reportedly behind by five months. Sablan said that GPPC Inc. is also behind by three months.

Another company with unpaid obligations to CPA is Seabridge Inc., which is behind by three months, as well as Marianas Industrial Services Inc., which has not been paying since 2008 and has already closed shop without fulfilling its obligations to CPA. Sablan disclosed that this particular account has been referred to the legal department for proceedings, along with the account of Fas Moving & Storage.

Saipan Crewboats was also found owing CPA over $11,000 and has not been paying since August 2000.

Sablan said the ports authority will see a substantial loss if CPA fails to actively pursue these account receivables.

On Tinian, out of four seaport tenants, only one is behind in its payment, the Hungshun Corp., he said.

On Rota, Sablan reported that all three tenants are current in their payments and these included Nicolas A. Songsong, IOTA, and Rota Terminal and Transfer.

He pointed out that CPA has always the option to revoke or terminate a lease agreement if companies are deemed not meeting their obligations to CPA.

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