The House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee chaired by Rep. Donald M. Manglona (Ind-Rota) has issued a subpoena on Department of Finance acting secretary Margaret Bertha C. Torres to compel the latter to provide numerous reports or documents that the committee members have sought.
At a House session yesterday, Manglona, who acknowledged that they are requesting for huge amounts of documents, said acting Finance secretary Torres was given a Sept. 12, 2022 deadline to provide the documents.
Manglona noted that Gov. Ralph DLG Torres has been renewing the emergency declaration in regards to containment measures concerning the COVID-19.
He said the committee, as well as the Legislature, has not received any reports as to the expenditures and any funds that have been received to date, including reimbursements.
“So the committee approved a subpoena duces tecum, which was issued to the acting [Finance] secretary on Monday to subpoena documents,” Manglona said.
He clarified that they did not subpoena Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig, however, voted on and serve the subpoena duces tecum to request acting Finance secretary Torres for documents pertaining to several reports that have been promised during committee meetings, as well as fund status pertaining to some of the allocations that have yet to be transferred over to other government agencies.
“I just wanted to inform the House members this was the action taken by the committee in order to further find out how much to date have been expended and how much is owed to vendors,” Manglona said.
It was Rep. Christina E. Sablan (D-Saipan) who offered the motion to issue the subpoena during the Ways and Means Committee meeting last Aug. 17.
Manglona said as they receive those documents, get them scan, they will then show the link to the House members, as well as anyone who’s interested to see.
“There are a total of 28 items that we’ve requested. This is just a huge amounts of documents that we’re requesting. And so as they come in, I’ll share that with the members,” Manglona said.
The subpoena commanded acting Finance secretary Torres to provide the books, papers, documents, electronic communications and/or other things that are material to the proper presentation of 28 listed items.
The committee said failure to comply with the subpoena may subject acting Finance secretary Torres to contempt and a civil enforcement action prescribed by law.
The 28 items include American Rescue Plan Act funds status by agency/department and expense type; breakdown of Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursements from Typhoons Soudelor, Mangkhut, and Yutu, and COVID-19; pandemic total cost by Fiscal Year and by expense category; CARES Act expenditures; and Travel Bucks—total number of cards issued, amount spent vs. returned, and associated fees for processing/issuance of cards.
Other items requested are total costs for attorneys’ fees for House Judiciary and Governmental Operations witnesses, contracts, amounts due and payments made; total costs for attorneys’ fees for Gov. Torres and Office of the Governor, contract amounts per attorney and payments made; total cost for stimulus cards (first distribution)-disbursed vs. returned due to expiration date, associated fees for processing/issuance of cards; total cost for stimulus cards (2nd distribution)-disbursed and used to date, associated fees for processing/issuance of cards; and updated actuarial report on the Settlement Fund.
The committee also listed items such as funding source for the Medicaid $5 million local match; money owed to the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. (preliminary reconciled figures or otherwise); status of ARPA money from CHCC MRI acquisition; total Business Gross Revenue Tax collected from all stimulus packages issued through ARPA funds; and total BGRT collected from Travel Bubble through both Korea and Japan.
Other items are BOOST Program total amount allocated, list of all participating small businesses/non-profits, eligibility requirements/guidelines; funds status on all revolving accounts; for Fiscal Year 2022, total funds transferred to Public School System to date; for FY 2022, total funds transferred to the Northern Marianas College to date; and for FY 2023, schedule or list of outside-sourced funds.
The last eight items are the following:
Outstanding vendor payments for Typhoon Yutu.
For tax filing year 2021, child tax credit payments-disbursed vs. outstanding.
For FY 2022, total local match disbursements for Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.
Status on single audits for FY 2020 and FY 2021.
APRA funds status for NGO’s—total funds allocated to assist NGO’s, total amount disbursed, number of NGOs that received assistance and level of assistance, number of applicants, number of application approved, and number of application pending.
Commonwealth Disaster Loan from Marianas Public Lands Trust ($88 million loan)-funds status report and spending allocation.
25% pension for first quarter FY 2023—documents identifying funding source.
Casino Gross Revenue Tax Fund status as of July 31, 2022.