OPA legal counsel fails to appear at hearing
The arraignment of former Office on Aging director Rose DLG. Mondala did not push through yesterday after Office of the Public Auditor legal counsel George L. Hasselback failed to appear at the hearing.
Only Mondala and her counsel, assistant public defender Eden Schwartz, appeared in court. Superior Court Presiding Judge Robert C. Naraja reset the arraignment to Monday, July 21, at 9am.
Hasselback later told Saipan Tribune that his non-appearance is a “non-issue” as the court has already rescheduled the arraignment.
As to why OPA has yet to file its information against Mondala, Hasselback said, “That’s being done as we speak.”
Mondala’s original arraignment date was July 7, 2014, but the parties’ counsel asked to continue the arraignment for yesterday, citing that “it is in the best interests of the judicial administration of this case.”
Mondala, 69, was arrested and taken to court last June 27 after OPA charged her with using the Aging Office’s funds and materials for the needs of the Covenant Party during the 2009 elections and to build a fence at her house in Kagman.
Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo released Mondala on a $7,500 unsecured or appearance bond.
The complaint charged Mondala with theft; theft of services; forgery; use of office, staff or employees of public office; restraints on use of public position to obtain benefits for business or social acquaintances; restraints on use of public supplies, time and personnel for campaign activities; and misconduct in public office.
OPA investigator Juanette F. David-Atalig stated in her report that the investigation began in September 2009 when their office received a complaint that then-Office on Aging director Mondala was using the office’s kitchen and staff to prepare food for the Covenant Party’s political rally.