The jury found Ambrosio T. Ogumoro guilty of stealing a car owned by the Department of Public Safety but not the department’s computer, according to assistant attorney general Matthew C. Baisley.
In response to Saipan Tribune questions about the verdict rendered against Ogumoro, Baisley also disclosed that the computer charges were made difficult by Ogumoro’s brother, Aniceto, who claimed that he authorized the taking of the computer when he (Aniceto) was the DPS acting commissioner.
Baisley pointed out that Aniceto had never before said that to anyone and that “it’s tough to get around.”
Ogumoro, a former DPS deputy commissioner, was found guilty on Tuesday of two corruption charges but was acquitted of four other charges.
A Superior Court jury found the former DPS official guilty of theft by deception but not guilty of theft by unlawful taking.
Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo, who decided on the misdemeanor charges, found Ogumoro guilty of misconduct in public office, not guilty of two counts of removal of government property, and not guilty of one count of misconduct in public office.
Sentencing will be on Sept. 12, 2017 at 1:30pm.
When asked to explain the verdict, Baisley said there were felony charges—theft of a 1995 Toyota Tercel car and theft of a computer.
Baisley said there were four related misdemeanor charges: two counts of misconduct in public office (one for stealing the car and the other for stealing the computer), and two counts of removal of government property (again, one for stealing the car and the other for stealing the computer).
The prosecutor said that Govendo basically tracked the jury’s decision.
Baisley said Govendo agreed that the government proved that Ogumoro stole the car, and therefore found him guilty of misconduct in public office based on stealing the vehicle.
Although Govendo didn’t say this, Baisley said that double jeopardy would have prevented a guilty verdict on the removal charge with respect to the car.
The prosecutor said Govendo also agreed that the prosecution did not prove the computer charge, so that misconduct charge also necessarily failed.
“Misconduct is based on finding that defendant committed an illegal act in office, so if the illegal act fails, so too must the misconduct,” he said.
Baisley said Govendo made an additional ruling that the government’s removal charges were barred by the statute of limitations.
Although he believes that the ruling was in error, Baisley is happy with the result of the trial.
“The car theft was always our focus and so I am happy with that verdict,” he added.
Ogumoro and his counsel, Mark B. Hanson, refused to comment about the verdict.
According to the charges, Ogumoro brought the 1995 Toyota Tercel to a shop to be repaired using DPS funds totaling $2,500 in 2002 and then sold the vehicle as “scrap” for only $50 to Herman M. Manglona.
Manglona is the brother of Ogumoro’s common-law wife, Katherine Manglona.
The prosecution also alleged that Ogumoro instructed a DPS staff to bring a DPS desktop computer to a shop for repairs using DPS funding in the amount of $276. The computer, along with a laptop, printer, and other DPS property, were later used in the office of the True North Bar & Grill, which is owned by Ogumoro.