Tinian Department of Finance resident director Edward Dela Cruz Shai was arrested today, Friday, after an investigation conducted by the Office of the Public Auditor revealed that he allegedly submitted numerous false travel documents in order to cash per diem checks for his personal use.
Shai, 50, was arrested for theft and misconduct in public office.
At a hearing today, Friday, Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho imposed a $10,000 cash bail for Shai’s temporary release. Preliminary hearing will be on May 16 at 9am.
OPA investigator Juanette F. David-Atalig stated in her report that during the preliminary phase of the investigation, Shai prepared and submitted a total of 44 travel authorizations from 2011 to 2013.
David-Atalig said almost all of these travel authorizations were to travel to Saipan to meet with various officials for department matters.
The investigator said after further examinations of the documents along with witness statements, OPA discovered that each travel is either questionable because of inconsistencies in the papers and the justifications for such travels.
David-Atalig said for this year, Shai submitted again three separate travel requests to meet with various officials on Saipan and cashed $1,188 per diem checks.
The officials, however, denied they ever met Shai.
The investigator said Shai unlawfully received an estimated $1,608.75 from the CNMI government by altering the travel dates on at least seven of his travel vouchers. The resident director also allegedly cashed and used for personal use about 19 travel advance checks issued to him totaling $10,813 for the year 2013.
MORE DETAILS TO FOLLOW.