The people of the CNMI are wondering whatever happened to MV Luta.
Once upon a time, certain group of people brought up the idea of purchasing a cargo ship to use as the one source of transporting goods and other commodities to Rota. When this idea came about, the people of Rota were overwhelmed and elated, knowing this ship will provide their island needs. Little did they know that this was a scheme in the making. A Japanese investor was lured to invest millions of dollars on the ship. On the other side of the island of Saipan, a certain individual already had a plan to convince the Rota delegation to introduce a resolution to support their intent to borrow $400,000 from the CNMI treasury.
After a lot of kicking and pushing from this individual, finally the $400K was released to MV Luta. It was claimed that this loan was approved by the late governor Inos, but this remain to be proven if it’s true or not.
After a long delay, the ship, MV Luta finally set sail for Rota, accompanied by the $400,000 taxpayer’s money. Thereafter, the money disappeared into thin air. No one knows where the money went.
Despite an investment of over a million dollars from the Japanese investor, the ship, MV Luta never took off to serve the people of Rota.
Later, a lawsuit was filed against Victor Hocog and his relatives by the Japanese investor who was trying to recover his millions in investment that never took off.
So many months have passed, the Japanese investor suddenly came out on the print media announcing that he is dropping the lawsuit against Victor Hocog and relatives. This really surprised a lot of people.
Recently, Victor Hocog suddenly claimed and washed his hands saying,“I got nothing to do with the MV Luta.” Are you surprised? No! Why? Because his name is in the lawsuit that was filed earlier.
Later, weeks followed, then the Office of the Attorney General announced in the print media that he is pursuing to recover the $400,000 taxpayer’s money. This was a great news, but why did the OAG waited this long?
Questions that I want to ask Victor Hocog is, where is the money, the $400,000, and who benefited from it? Into whose bank account was the $400,000 deposited in? Who are the people authorized to withdraw money from the bank account? It is very obvious that we all know who has the money.
It is my understanding that the Office of the Public Auditor has completed an audit and made a recommendation for prosecution. Why is the OAG not pursuing the OPA recommendation?
To recover the $400,000 is one thing. It’s another to go after the corrupt public officials who personally gained from the $400,000 taxpayer’s money.
In conclusion. it is because of greed and deception that MV Luta never got off the ground and the people of Rota are left with so many questions and no answers. No accountability, not even from OAG or by the Office of the Public Auditor. Perhaps a Freedom of Information Act request is in order.
Jack C. Muna