Still verifying IPI payment

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Posted on Aug 14 2019

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The Department of Finance and the administration Gov. Ralph DLG Torres noted yesterday that they are aware that Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC completed a wire transfer to pay the casino license renewal fee.

Both Finance and the Torres administration confirmed that they were aware of a wire transfer made to the CNMI government by IPI for their annual $15-million casino license renewal fees; however, both did not immediately respond to the question of how much was transferred.

“[Finance] is aware a wire transfer has been made by [IPI] and will verify once the transfer process is completed. International wire transactions usually take 23-48 hours to process. Once verified, [Finance] will provide notice to the Commonwealth Casino Commission and the Office of the Attorney General,” Finance Secretary David Atalig told Saipan Tribune yesterday.

The Torres administration, which gave a similar response, noted that it would be further coordinating with the OAG and the CCC regarding the company’s compliance with the casino license agreement.

Rep. Ed Propst (Ind-Saipan) noted yesterday morning, that an anonymous individual with knowledge of the matter told his office that IPI only paid $5.5 million as of 8:30am yesterday. This could not be independently verified by Saipan Tribune.

Comments on the matter from both the Finance department and Torres administration were received at about 5pm yesterday.

According to Atalig and Commonwealth Lottery Commission chair Mark Rabauliman, CCC would be the enforcing agency relating to the annual fee. Rabualiman clarified that his commission merely handles the contract between the CNMI government and IPI.

According to the CLA, Section 175-10.1-675 relating to the license suspension or revocation, the casino gaming licensee is bound by the contract to comply with all the terms and conditions of the casino license. Any violation of its requirements shall be considered a breach of contract.

The agreement further defines a breach of contract as “failure to pay any amount due and payable hereunder upon the date when such payment is due,” among other things. This means that IPI cannot be delayed in its payments to the CNMI government, including the annual casino license renewal fee, and that it has to be paid in full.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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