BOOST referred to OAG, OPA


The joint committee of the House of Representatives that investigated the administration’s Building Optimism, Opportunities and Stability Together program has referred the matter to the Office of the Attorney General and the Office of the Public Auditor, citing several alleged violations, including bribery and misconduct in public office.

During the 23rd House of Representatives’ sine die session yesterday, joint committee chair Rep. Donald Manglona (Ind-Rota) gave the committee’s report, ultimately recommending the prosecution of those involved in the BOOST program in the belief that a number of CNMI laws were violated in the administration of the program.

“The committee has provided violations of laws that the OAG and the OPA can look into,” Manglona reported.

In addition, the committee recommended that the incoming 23rd Legislature enact legislation that provides legislative oversight on how public funds are used in the future.

“As you know, there are several legislations pending with the Senate that the House had passed, including House Bill 22-33 to require legislative appropriations on [American Rescue Plan Act funds]. We are hoping that the next legislature can take this up,” he said.

“While we are in our last session of the 22nd Legislature, the joint committee submits this report so that should we enter the 23rd Legislature, the committees can take this up and continue the work that the 22nd Legislature joint committee members have done. These were some of the recommendations and it is our hope that the 23rd Legislature will take this matter up,” Manglona added.

Rep. Christina Sablan (D-Saipan) said she concurs with the committee’s recommendations, noting that further investigative oversight and investigation into the BOOST program is needed and should continue into the 23rd Legislature. See Page 9 for related story.

“The joint committee has only begun to scratch the surface of the gross waste, abuse, and fraud that has occurred. There must be consequences and referrals must be made to the OAG, OPA, and federal authorities for further investigation and prosecution. The next legislature should also take up measures to ensure greater transparency and accountability in the expenditure of public funds and the next administration should support these measures,” she said.

“The BOOST program was a heist, public money was stolen, public money was squandered, public money was exploited for personal and political profit. Only very few out of thousands that applied were grossly enriched. This big money grab was made possible by the absolute lack of oversight and transparency,” she added.

Rep. Edwin K. Propst (D-Saipan) said that he just hopes that those who were involved in the gross mismanagement of BOOST funds are held accountable

Rep. Shiela Babauta (D-Saipan) said it’s embarrassing that leaders of the CNMI would display such greed and self-interest when many are advocating for a “better” Marianas. “I highly support the recommendations of the committee and I urge all incoming and returning legislatures to continue the investigation on the BOOST program. I hope we learn from all of thse and that we do not re-elect leaders who are filled with greed and self-interest,” she said.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at

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