Babauta seeks record of CCF payments


The sole rival of the Torres-Palacios ticket is challenging the incumbent administration to show records of the annual Community Chest Fund payments of the sole casino operator on Saipan within 10 days.

Juan N. Babauta is challenging Gov. Ralph DLG Torres to provide records and receipts of expenditure of the annual Community Chest Fund payments, or CCF. Saipan Tribune tried to solicit comments from the Torres administration but no comments nor confirmation of receipt was received as of press time.

The CCF is a $20-million fund that the casino operator, Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC, pays to the CNMI government every year and is used as directed by the governor or gubernatorial appointees, according to the casino license.

Babauta wants to know why Torres is not using a portion of that money to sustain the operation of the recently closed Marpi pool and baseball field.

“…Many in our community continue to question why it might be, that with $20 million annually in [CCF] payments at your discretion, you are unwilling to…[use it according to] the wishes of over 14,000 petition signatories to divert a miniscule fraction of that $20 million to re-opening, restoring, and maintaining the Marpi pool and baseball field,” he wrote in a letter addressed to Torres, which was also his Open Government Act request to the governor.

Babauta demands that records of expenditures pertaining to the $20 million be made “available for inspection” within 10 days.

Based on his request, he is seeking information on the date on which CCF payments were obligated to commence; the amounts of CCF payments received during the first year on which CCF payments were supposed to start; the amount of CCF payments received during each subsequent year; the accounting of all CCF payments received that have been made, received, distributed, and characterized; each purpose for which each payment was made, designated, received, and distributed; each donation, recipient, and amount of donations made by Imperial Pacific International; and each entity ostensibly employed, contracted, or funded by IPI who is or has been paid money, received consideration, or been otherwise compensated—by use or application of CCF obligations or payments.

Babauta reminds Torres that, according to CNMI local law, all actions of all public offices, divisions, departments, boards, commissions, committees, and agencies are to be taken openly, and that their deliberations be conducted openly.

He further reminded Torres that, according to the Boards and Commissions Reform Act of 2006, it is “…Incumbent upon executive…leaders to find methods of cutting the cost of doing the government’s business…Boards, commission members, and others must conduct themselves with utmost propriety and comply with their fiduciary duties. Each member is charged with, among other things, the fiduciary duties of good faith, trust, confidence, and candor. At a minimum, these duties require that each…refrain from abusing and exploiting their privilege ‘[as a government official]’,” he wrote.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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