News from the CNMI

April 3, 2008

Arrests at the CNMI Department of Labor

The Saipan Tribune reports that two DOL employees and six others were arrested for bribery for immigration gain, exploitation of a position of authority, document fraud, conspiracy to commit document fraud, unlawful employment of aliens, and conspiracy to commit unlawful employment of aliens. According to the story by reporter Ferdie de la Torre:

"Defendants Lorenzo Deleon Guerrero and Janel Alepuyo are both employees at Labor's Application Processing Section.

The six other defendants are Teresita J. Deleon Guerrero, Nelia D. Lozano, Angelito Santos, Anita A. Camacho, Arnel B. Panieza, and Emilia A. Panieza. Lorenzo Deleon Guerrero and his wife Teresita Deleon Guerrero, Alepuyo, Santos, Lozano, Angel's School of Dance Inc., and ALT International Corp. were involved in

Immigration Investigator Erwin Flores of the Attorney General's Office's Investigation Unit stated in his report that a “cooperating defendant” informed him in an interview on March 17, 2008, that Lozano would use a fake notary signature stamp and affix false notarial signature stamps onto documents to support an alien worker's application to Labor and Division of Immigration for the issuance of entry permits."
Fitial Claims GAO Report Suppressed

Governor Fitial claimed that the Congressional staffers were "suppressing" the Government Government Accountability Office according to a story by Agnes Donato in the Saipan Tribune. The article states:

"Citing a GAO source, the local government added that congressional staffers had asked GAO to keep the report from the public for 30 days unless the congressional staffers decide to release it at an earlier date.

Gov. Benigno R. Fitial said of the development, “Preventing the public release of the GAO report for as long as 30 days means that the members of Congress will not be informed of the many serious legal shortcomings of the important bill they are being asked to approve. We pointed many of these deficiencies in our comments to GAO.”

The Pacific Times reports that the Senate clarified its policy on releasing reports:

"The Governor [of CNMI] should explain, as he knows, that the 30-day delay in public release of GAO reports is a long-standing GAO/Congressional protocol to give members who requested the report to read it, to be briefed by GAO, and to prepare for its public release," the Committee said through Bill Wicker, director for communications in an email to Pacific Times.

Senator Bingaman, along with Sen. Daniel Akaka--the principal author of another takeover bill, S 1634, in May 2007 asked GAO to perform fresh economic assessment on the possible impacts of federalizing the islands' labor and immigration system. The request for study was endorsed by the entire US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources."