March 12, 2013
The summons calls for Fitial, who was impeached by the CNMI House last month, to appear in court the first Monday after receiving the summons. Superior Court Associate Judge David Wiseman stated that if the former governor fails to appear, an arrest warrant will be issued for him.
The Office of the Public Auditor filed the following charges against Fitial: committing theft of services (6CMC§303); conspiracy to obstruct justice by interference with service of process (6CMC§303); conspiracy to obstruct justice by interference with a law enforcement officer or witness (6CMC§303); theft of services (6CMC§1607(b)); misconduct in public office (6CMC§3202); obstructing justice by interference with a law enforcement officer or witness (6CMC§3302); and obstructing justice by interference with the service of process (6CMC§3303).
The 20-page affidavit in support for the penal summons revealed that the governor received a text message from former AG Buckingham and was in constant text contact with Ogumoro who was heading the thug squad that shielded Buckingham using government vehicles and equipment. From the Marianas Variety quoted the affidavit:
“Fitial agreed and conspired with others…to…obstruct justice and assisted Buckingham to evade and avoid receipt of [the] summons by providing his personal driver/bodyguard [Jermaine] Nekaifes, and [Ambrosio] Ogumoro to assist Buckingham in avoiding service of the summons.”
Fitial also questioned the presence of DPS police officers at the Aquarius Hotel where Buckingham and his wife stayed prior to their Aug. 4, 2012 departure, and the officers’ assisting OPA in its attempt to serve Buckingham with the summons.
“Fitial…gave instructions to [Detective Elias] Saralu, and [Police Officer Peter] Camacho not to investigate [Detective Alexander] Sakisat [who helped the Buckinghams transport their luggage from the hotel to the airport], and leave it as is,” the OPA affidavit stated.
“Investigation further reveals that Fitial was in regular communication with Ogumoro during the course of the escort of Buckingham to the Saipan International Airport.”
The escort service provided to the Buckingham couple, who rode in Nekaifes’s private vehicle, included a DPS unmarked vehicle, a human trafficking unit vehicle, a boating safety unit vehicle, cell phones and radios used to communicate and transfer information, and manpower/personnel during the course of the escort service for the Buckinghams. The cost of using these government-owned properties was over $250 but less than $20,000.Some claim that Fitial is in San Diego, California where sources say he owns a home. Others say he is in the Philippines where his wife, Josie owns property. Unless he can be served the summons, he will not face charges.
This former governor cannot hide in the states or in the Philippines. He should return to the CNMI to face the charges.