‘Statements of Financial Interests must be submitted’


‘Statements of Financial Interests must be submitted’

The Office of the Public Auditor issued Thursday a flash report about its responsibility for the oversight of Statement of Financial Interests submissions from reporting individuals that include gubernatorial appointed and elected officials.

OPA said those who are required under the law to submit Statement of Financial Interests also include persons subject to confirmation by the Legislature, and all government employees receiving additional compensation for services rendered to or as an independent contractor for the government.

Notarized SFIs and declarations for 30-day extension are to be filed with the OPA on Yap Drive, Capital Hill.

May 1 is deadline of every calendar year, unless an SFI has already been filed within the calendar year.

A person who first becomes a subject to file an SFI within 30 days prior to May 1 can file on or before May 31 without penalty.

One 30-day extension can be obtained not less than 10 days before the date on which the SFI is due. A declaration for extension must be accompanied by a $50 fee payable to the CNMI government.

OPA said the imposition of penalty does not grant filers an excuse from filing an SFI.

Failure to file, except when a declaration extension is filed, constitutes a violation of Commonwealth law.

No reporting individual shall be allowed to take the oath of office, enter, be confirmed, or continue his or her duties, nor shall he or she receive compensation from the Commonwealth, unless he or she has filed an SFI.

No later than Feb. 1, the Department of Finance shall certify to OPA a list of names—in alphabetical order and mailing addresses of individuals—that are required to file an SFI.

A supplemental list containing the names of additional required SFI filers since Feb. 1 must be certified to OPA not less than 30 days before May 1. The supplemental list must be in the same format as the original certified list.

OPA will notify in writing all individuals that are required to file an SFI no later than March 1, via mail or personal delivery.

OPA will notify by certified mail individuals that fail to file by the specified deadline.

OPA will deliver a dated receipt to the filing individual indicating that an SFI has been filed.

All SFIs are required to remain confidential unless otherwise requested pursuant to the Commonwealth code.

A penalty of not more than $10 a day for each day of delinquency, as the Public Auditor determines, will be imposed, subject to appeal to the Superior Court.

A person required to file an SFI who refuses or knowingly fails to disclose required information within the time required, or who knowingly provides false or misleading information, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, is punishable by a fine or not less than $500 nor more than $1,000, or by imprisonment for a period of not more six months, or both.

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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