COTA denies owing IT&E $65,750; works with DOF on ‘oversight’


The Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority clarified last week that it may owe IT&E for communication services, but not the $65,750 that was earlier reported.

Alfreda Camacho Maratita, who is the special assistant for Public Transportation under the Office of the Governor and Lt. Governor, said that COTA’s monthly recurring charges range between $2,000 and $3,000. She said these charges include WiFi services, landlines, cellphones, and GPS tracking system on all transit fleet.

The Department of Finance’s listing of 70 accounts from several federal programs that owe IT&E for telecommunication services shows that COTA account has the highest balance, $65,750, and is over 120 days aging.

Maratita said that, as of 4:30pm Thursday last week, COTA has already submitted its current billings to Finance for payment processing.

Maratita said COTA, under the Office of the Governor and Lt. Governor, is currently working closely with Finance and IT&E to resolve this oversight.

“I would like to assure our community members who utilize COTA’s transit services that our phone lines are in service and should not be impacted,” she said.

Several federal programs owe IT&E about $222,389 in total for communication services that, if not settled immediately, could result in them being disconnected.

Finance Secretary Tracy B. Norita notified agency heads last Tuesday that several programs have been found to have an outstanding balance with IT&E. Norita said these federal programs will be given until May 31, 2023, to clear or dispute these outstanding balances. She said invoices pertaining to these balances must be cleared and paid immediately.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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