FOR MISCONDUCT IN PUBLIC OFFICE:
Former Tinian Department of Finance resident director Edward Dela Cruz Shai has pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office and was slapped with a four-day prison term over his submission of false travel documents in order to cash per diem checks for his personal use.
Superior Court Presiding Judge Robert C. Naraja accepted Shai’s guilty plea and the plea agreement.
Naraja sentenced the defendant to one-year imprisonment, all suspended except for four days.
Shai was given credit for four days of time served. It means that he will no longer serve more prison time.
Shai was placed on supervised probation for one year, ordered to pay a $100 probation fee and $25 in court assessment fee.
A review hearing will be on May 13, 2016.
The Office of the Public Auditor charged the defendant with one count of theft by deception and one count of misconduct in public office.
For pleading guilty to misconduct in public office, assistant attorney general Shannon Foley moved to dismiss the remaining charge. The court granted the motion.
According to the factual basis of the plea deal, Shai failed to properly and fully account for his official travel on or between May 30, 2011, and March 27, 2014, on Saipan and/or Tinian.
In so doing, Shai obtained government property by creating or reinforcing a false impression as to the value of travel compensation he was owed by the government.
Shai performed this illegal conduct while he was a public official, or as Tinian Finance resident director.
Attorney Joaquin Torres served as counsel for Shai.
Then-OPA investigator Juanette F. David-Atalig stated in her report that Shai submitted a total of 47 travel authorizations from 2011 to 2014.
Almost all of these travel authorizations were to travel to Saipan, supposedly to meet with various government officials for department matters. OPA learned that the officials, however, denied they ever met with Shai.
In total, Shai allegedly misappropriated more than $10,000 over a period of several years.