October 5, 2012
We already knew that the governor ordered his DPS thug squad to shield Buckingham from being served a penal summons and aided him in fleeing the CNMI. The impeachment hearings have revealed more evidence. KSPN aired video footage from the Aquarius Hotel's security cameras showing some members of the DPS thug squad appearing in the hotel parking garage, collecting the Buckingham's luggage and escorting the couple from the hotel.
Hotel employees who testified at the impeachment hearing confirmed that Mrs. Buckingham lied when she claimed that her husband was not in the hotel room. It was also revealed that employees at the front desk were ordered not to allow anyone up to the Buckingham's room.
AG Gil Binbrich's testimony confirmed that Buckingham avoided being served and ordered the OAG to coordinate with Governor Fitial concerning the OAG representing him at the trial at which he failed to appear.
The fact that key members of the DPS thug squad refuse to testify suggests that they have something to hide and that they continue to take they orders from King Fitial. DPS Deputy Commissioner Ambrosio Ogumoro acted like he was above the law at the hearing, stating that the hearing was "a waste of government time" and then he invoked his Fifth Amendment rights.
What is a waste of time and a waste of money? The airport fiasco was a waste of time and money. How many man hours were used to keep the OPA investigators from serving the former AG with a penal summons? How many DPS employees participated in this criminal act? At least one DPS official stated these individuals were collecting overtime pay for this criminal mission. How many government vehicles purchased with federal grant money were used to escort the former AG, now criminal Edward Buckingham to the airport? At least three, perhaps more.
Furthermore, the Saipan Airport obviously does not follow the Department of Homeland Security policies and procedures. How was it that the DPS thug squad got Buckingham into the VIP Lounge in an attempt to shield him from being served a penal summons? What kind of security system allows a corrupt DPS thug squad to escort a criminally charged individual past or through security to be hidden away in a VIP room? What kind of airport security exists if criminally charged individuals are treated like VIPs and a reporter is assaulted on airport property for trying to perform her job? It would be interesting to see footage from all airport security cameras. DPS needs to be investigated also. Perhaps Ms. Sablan should look into suing the DPS thug squad and DHS.
We already knew that the governor ordered former Fugitive AG Edward Buckingham and other cabinet members to host campaign events for U.S. Delegate candidate, now judge Joseph Camacho. (See Election-Gate posts for background.) OPS Attorney Hasselback further confirmed this with an email from Governor Fitial to government employees that he submitted to the impeachment committee. The email stated:
“Hafa Adai friends, the Friends of Joe Camacho for U.S. Congress 2010 is scheduled for an important meeting [and] is now respectfully requesting everyone’s presence tomorrow, 11:30 a.m., at Saipan World Resort. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss subgroups in precinct level as well as strategies and looking forward for new efforts and updates and upcoming schedules.”Following that email Buckingham sent an email to his executive assistant stating, “I want you to plan for a function, I want you to tell our employees about it, I want you to encourage the employees to attend.”
We already knew that Michael Ada's ARRA contract was illegal. AG Hasselback testified that the contract "clearly violated CNMI law."
The Marianas Variety reported:
The U.S. Department of the Interior’s inspector general said the controversial contract violated ethics rules, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute.
Documents from the Division of Procurement and Supply pertaining to the ARRA contract revealed that the governor did not only insist on the sole-source deal but also asked the division director, Herman S. Sablan, to give the contractor, Ada, an advanced payment representing 20 percent of the contract amount on Oct. 12, 2010.The U.S. also failed to prosecute former AG Buckingham for his Hatch Act violations even though the Office of Special Counsel found there was indeed evidence to suggest that he did violate the law. Perhaps the federal government's failure to prosecute corrupt officials is contributing to the fact that the CNMI's corrupt leaders and elected officials feel that they are above the law. In fact, for years they have violated ethical policies or law with no consequences.
We should also question where is the CNMI Bar? Why wasn't Buckingham disbarred? Hello?
We already knew that the $190 million sole-sourced CUC contract signed secretly by Fitial and Buckingham was not in the best interest of the CNMI. CUC acting director Alan Fletcher testified to this point. Within days of Fletcher's testifying at the impeachment hearing, Governor Fitial called Fletcher a liar. Expect Fletcher to be without a job within a week. Anyone who does not obey the dictator, is soon without a job. Fitial's former cabinet members who refused to join Governor Fitial's version of a Republican Party, Senator Paul Manglona's brother and other ousted government employees are good examples of those were were fired for disobedience to the dictator.
Rep. Felicidad Ogumoro, a loyal Fitial puppet, has had an interesting role in these hearings. Does anyone else feel embarrassed for her when they watch the videos or read the statements that she makes? Throughout the hearings she interfered with the witnesses and the Impeachment Committee Chair, Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero, who was conducting the hearings. Ogumoro suggested that a witness could invoke his Fifth Amendment rights. Ogumoro questioned OPA attorney George Hasselback about his relationship with Buckingham, implying that the attorney was out to get his former boss. Hasselback stated that his relationship with Buckingham was professional.
We already knew that the exodus of assistant attorney generals from the Office of the Attorney General was related to AG Buckingham's failed leadership and failure to uphold the law. Hasselback stated, “I did, however, resign my position because I believe I was being asked to do things that were asking me to violate rules and that would make me potentially commit crimes. I did not like what I was being told to do. I did not think what I was being told to do was proper and ethical and so I resigned my position.”
We all know that Governor Benigno Fitial should be impeached. Now the question should be: "Why wasn't the governor and the others involved in his never-ending schemes charged with violating the law?" In all of the incidents cited above serious criminal or ethical violations were committed. Yet, no criminal charges or consequences were given to those who committed the acts that harmed the public.
In the CNMI when elected leaders and officials commit corrupt acts, people protest for a short time, there are no criminal charges filed and the cycle repeats. Over and over and over and over again. If Governor Fitial is impeached and the violating parties are charged with criminal acts, perhaps the cycle will end.