House panel to review contracts related to COVID-19 response

Corina Magofna

Corina Magofna

The House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee will be conducting an oversight hearing on all contracts pertaining to the CNMI’s COVID-19 response, prompted in part by a $165,000 billing for sanitation services that some lawmakers have questioned.

Rep. Corina L. Magofna (D-Saipan), who said she has been appointed to take lead on the CNMI’s COVID-19 response, said that an invoice from Jogo Sanitation for $165,000 prompted the Ways and Means Committee’s interest to look further into all contracts associated with the COVID-19 response.

In line with this, Magofna has asked all agencies involved in the processing of contracts for documents relating to the CNMI government’s COVID-19 response.

Magofna said many representatives have received a lot of inquiries, questions, and concerns about the Jogo Sanitation invoice, which, according to her, went viral on social media as well as on WhatsApp.

The lawmaker was referring to Jogo Sanitation Services owned by Jesseleo Taimanao Ogo, who, according to Rep. Edwin K. Propst (D-Saipan), was being paid $4,749 per day just to sanitize the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe.

Consequently, Magofna said, the Ways and Means Committee decided to conduct an oversight into the matter, not just on Ogo but on all contracts, so they could provide accurate information and answers to their constituents/taxpayers.

Additionally, the committee will review the procurement practices taken on all COVID-19 contracts to ensure procurement regulations were adhered to.

“The intent is to inform the public that we are looking into the American Rescue Plan Act expenditures and how the funds are being spent, specifically contracts associated with the COVID-19 response,” the lawmaker said.

She sent the request for information through a letter last Dec. 28 and 29 addressed to Public Assistance Officer Patrick C. Guerrero, CNMI Division of Procurement Services acting director Frank Aguon, Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig, CNMI Homeland Security and Emergency Management special assistant/incident commander Gerald J. Deleon Guerrero, and Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force chai Warren F. Villagomez.

Magofna asked them submit the requested documents/reports to her office no later than last Friday, and today, Monday.

She asked for a listing of all vendors who received contracts associated with the CNMI government COVID-19 response to provide goods and services from the start of the pandemic to date. Goods and services include quarantine facilities, personal protective equipment, supplies, meal services, sanitation services, and others.

In addition, Magofna asked for information such as vendor name, contract type, contract amount, date of execution, effective date, expiration date, contract number, and a brief description of what the contract is for.

The lawmaker also requested the following:

Copies of all contracts for all vendors whether local, foreign, and/or other U.S. jurisdictions (Guam) from the start of the pandemic to date.

Listing and copies of all disbursements/payments issued to all vendors, including invoices and information such as payment date, payment amount, invoice number, description of goods and/or services, service period, etc. from the start of the pandemic to date.

Any/all documents, transmittals, correspondence (i.e., emails, fax, etc.) and any other forms of communication as they relate to contracts associated with the CNMI government COVID-19 response.

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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