Sablan: Why was IPI allowed to proceed with project without OK’d construction documents

Posted on Oct 27 2020


Rep. Tina Sablan (D-Saipan) wants to know how long and why Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC has been allowed to proceed with their casino construction project in Garapan without approved construction documents.

Sablan pointed out that commissioners of the Commonwealth Casino Commission stated at their board meeting last Tuesday that the Department of Public Works has been “trying” to get permit drawings from IPI for at least a year.

“But it appears that IPI has lacked complete, accurate, and certified drawings for much longer than that,” said Sablan when asked for comments about DPW’s issuance of the notice of violations to IPI.

Gani Salazar, representative/inspector of DPW’s Building Safety Code Division, issued a notice to IPI last Oct. 9 about IPI’s alleged violations pertaining to its construction project in Garapan. IPI project director Jing Zhou received the notice on that same day.

Sablan said they heard from three different former IPI contractors at the CCC meeting last Thursday that the building is unsafe, hazardous, not code compliant, and lacks certified construction drawings and qualified onsite inspectors.

“If IPI doesn’t have permit drawings, how are they building to code? What are they building to? How are they getting inspections? And how long has DPW allowed this to happen?” Sablan asked.

When asked about Sablan’s questions, IPI chief executive officer Donald Browne said yesterday that he’s not involved with the issue but that Sablan’s “best bet is to ask DPW.”

Browne earlier stated that the DPW violations are essentially clerical issues and that they have provided the documents to the third-party engineer for submission to DPW.

According to the notice, IPI failed to provide approved construction documents. IPI allegedly failed to select and obtain approval for an approved agency (special inspector). IPI also allegedly failed to submit approved special inspector reports and tests from June 2019 up to the present.

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 ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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