Teno seeks probe of ex-officials for misuse of funds

Posted on May 03 1999

Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio has ordered the Office of the Attorney General to take immediate action on the recommendations of the Inspector General of the Department of the Interior seeking the prosecution of former Gov. Froilan C. Tenorio and others for alleged abuse of public funds.

The governor said he wrote to acting Atty. General Maya Kara Friday instructing her to review an audit report on the past administration’s handling of government money, bbut refused to give details of the IG audit report.

“There are a lot of recommendations,” Tenorio said. “One of the recommendations is to refer some of these to the attorney general for investigation.”

But administration sources disclosed on condition of anonymity that the report included CNMI’s ex-leader and his finance secretary, Antonio R. Cabrera.

Previous press reports say the audit, which covered Fiscal Years 1996 through 1998 under Froilan’s administration, indicated that the ex-governor may be criminally liable for allegedly violating CNMI laws on expenditures and programming authority. Such violations, according to reports, had led to overspending and abuse of discretionary funds.

A trial court has fined the former governor $12 million after he was found liable of spending government money illegally, an accusation he has repeatedly denied. The decision is under appeal.

Among the questionable disbursement of public funds noted in the report were the $3.4 million loan granted by Froilan to the Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission and the $91,000 in settlement payment for two land claims.

The IG, the report says, also found Froilan of spending $6.3 million over what was appropriated for his discretionary funds during the three fiscal years, as well as entered into lease contracts over $500,000 for vehicles, office equipment, janitorial and maintenance services, and repair of government facilities.

Cabrera, on the other hand, has also been found by the Office of Public Auditor of spending illegally over $100,000 in public funds when he was finance secretary. OPA said Cabrera made questionable travel advances and reimbursements, which include, among others, purchase of personal items.

The IG audit was based on OPA reports and interviews with several legislators, and administration officials.

“The attorney general will be reviewing the audit and recommend to me what action to be taken,” Tenorio said.

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