Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman placed under advisement yesterday the motion of former Department of Public Safety deputy commissioner Ambrosio T. Ogumoro and former Commonwealth Ports Authority chief Jordan Kosam to dismiss the charges against them.
Attorneys Edward Arriola Sr. and Joaquin Torres argued the motion to dismiss on behalf of Ogumoro and Kosam, respectively.
Office of the Public Auditor legal counsel George L. Hasselback opposed the motion.
Arriola argued that OPA has no authority to prosecute Ogumoro. Citing the case of former Division of Aging director Rose Mondala, Arriola cited that on Sept. 10, 2014, Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth Govendo held that the Attorney General violated the separation of powers by delegating general prosecutorial powers to members of an agency that has no such authority. Arriola said the public auditor lacks constitutional and legislative authority to prosecute this case.
Torres adopted Arriola’s arguments.
In the government’s opposition, Hasselback said the defendants’ arguments are based upon a complete misunderstanding of the facts surrounding the prosecution of this case.
Hasselback said the sole source of his authority to prosecute Ogumoro and Kosam is, and has always been, the court’s Aug. 17, 2012, order that named him a “special prosecutor.”
Hasselback said the case is not being prosecuted pursuant to any authority delegated by the OAG. He also pointed out the OAG did not object to his role as special prosecutor in this case.
OPA charged Ogumoro with 15 criminal charges for his role in, among other things, shielding then-attorney general Edward T. Buckingham from being served with penal summons in August 2012.
Aside from Ogumoro and Kosam, OPA also filed criminal charges against former CPA police captain John T. Rebuenog, former governor Benigno Fitial and Fitial’s former personal driver and bodyguard, Jermaine Joseph W. Nekaifes, for their participation in shielding Buckingham from being served with penal summons.
Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth Govendo dismissed the case against Nekaifes at Hasselback’s request.