The Commonwealth Ports Authority is set to hold a series of public meetings where members of the CNMI community can personally ask questions about CPA’s ongoing dispute with Star Marianas Airlines and the controversy surrounding its fiscal year 2021 audit report.
In a statement from CPA chair Kimberlyn King-Hinds, she said that CPA will hold public hearings on all three islands to further ensure that the community understands the current issues surrounding CPA, including its long ongoing issues with SMA.
“In furtherance of ensuring that the public understands what’s going on with the audit and the ongoing dispute with SMA, CPA will be conducting public hearings on all three islands,” she said. “CPA welcomes all interested citizens to participate in our regular board meetings to share their concerns regarding our annual audit.”
King-Hinds said that audit findings will be presented during this hearing and members of the CPA management will do its best to answer any questions the public may have about SMA.
“At these public hearings, CPA will present the findings of the audit, the ongoing dispute with SMA and answer any questions that the public may have as it relates to those issues. The time and venue of these public hearings will be announced in the near future,” she said.
According to a press release from CPA, this year’s audit presented five findings that were cited as causes of concern.
The first finding generally relates to not recording expenses in the proper reporting period.
The second finding states that CPA didn’t follow certain procurement rules and regulations.
The third finding states that CPA is not in compliance with equipment and real property policies and regulations.
Finding number four was made in regard to discrepancies in CPA’s reporting of its local share for certain federally-funded projects.
Lastly, finding number five questioned whether certain costs are allowed under the certain grant terms and conditions. In some of the findings, CPA disagreed with the auditor. In other cases, CPA believes that it is an allowable cost and has contacted the grantor—the Federal Aviation Administration—to confirm whether these costs are allowable under the grant and is waiting for further FAA guidance.
“Audits are a great way of ensuring that CPA is transparent and accountable to the public as to the manner in which it expends public funds. More importantly, it is a great tool for board members to see where the gaps are in terms of policies and where management needs to improve with regards to operating procedures. I am confident that CPA’s management will implement the necessary corrective actions and measures to resolve the findings as raised by the audit,” King-Hinds said.