Buckingham Trial: Fitial's nephew confirms what everyone knew

February 12, 2014

We all knew that disgraced ex-governor Benigno Fitial orchestrated the great escape of ex-Attorney General Edward Buckingham. Fitial's former driver and nephew, police officer Jermaine Nekaifes confirmed it.

Nekaifes sold out his uncle Benigno Fitial and ex-AG Edward Buckingham in exchange for having the charges dropped against him. He was charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice for his role in Buckingham's 'great escape' at the Saipan International Airport.

Some of the statements Nekaifes made:
  • Fitial directed Nekaifes to keep the two F.B.I. agents from serving Buckingham with the summons. Fital told him that if he was there he would block them. (Yeah, right!) Nekaifes testified that he respected the F.B.I. and did not obey.
  • Nekaifes was with Fitial the morning of August 3, 2012 when Buckingham called Fitial. It appears that Buckingham sought the governor's help in using government officials and equipment in 'the great escape' and it was given. 
  • Fitial instructed Nekaifes to go to the Aquarius Hotel on August 4, 2012 and take the Buckinghams to the airport so they could leave without being interviewed by the press.
  • Nekaifes witnessed police officers blocking former KSPN reporter Tina Sablan from interviewing the Buckinghams, as they were instructed by Fitial.
  • Nekaifes said that Fitial gave him documents for Buckingham to sign and after he fled from the CNMI, Nekaifes delivered the signed documents to Fitial. 
  • Nekaifes said that he and officers took the Buckingham's tickets and passports and presented them at the ticket window and checked their luggage, a violation of DHS security procedures. 
  • During Fitial's impeachment trial, Fitial paid attorney Brien San Nicolas to represent Nekaifes and the thug law enforcement officials, including former Deputy Police Commissioner Ambrosio Ogumoro and Commonwealth Ports Authority Police Chief Jordan Kosam. (See this post
Also testifying was the wife of police officer Alex Sakisat. Mrs. Sakisat worked under Pam Buckingham, the wife of Edward Buckingham at Northern Marianas College.

DPS officer Sakisat testified at the impeachment trial that he went to the Aquaris Hotel on August 3, 2012 to pickup household items that the Buckinghams were getting rid of since they were leaving Saipan.

Sakisat testified that on August 3, 2012 Pam Buckingham called her to the Aquaris Hotel where the Buckinghams were hiding out until they could catch their flight to leave the CNMI. Sakisat said that Pam Buckingham was upset with the people from the Office of the Public Auditor attempting to serve Buckingham with the summons and KSPN reporter Tina Sablan being there to interview the corrupt AG. 

Police officer Sakisat dropped his wife at the Aquaris Beach Hotel at 3:00pm on August 3, 2012. She visited the Buckinghams until 8:00pm. While there Buckingham received a call from Fitial.

From the Marianas Variety:
While in the room, Buckingham received a call. 
“It was from Uncle Ben,” Mrs. Sakisat said, adding she spoke with him in Chamorro. 
Mrs. Sakisat said she asked Fitial “to get these goons get off our backs.” 
When asked by Hasselback who the “goons” were, Mrs. Sakisat replied “your guys, OPA and MCV,” referring to Tina Sablan
Mrs. Sakisat said Mrs. Buckingham called her to the hotel because Mrs. Buckingham said she was getting upset with the situation. Mrs. Sakisat told Fitial that if the OPA and Tina Sablan did not not leave in the hotel area, the Buckingham couple would go to her house. 
Mrs. Buckingham was obviously an accomplice, but has not been charged.

In earlier testimony, OPA investigator Juanette David-Atalig testified to the events of August 3 and 4, 2012 as she and OPA chief investigator Juan Santos unsuccessfully attempted to serve the summons to Buckingham.

Atlaig stated that officer Peter Camacho informed the investigators if they did not stop trying to serve the summons they 'would be arrested'. That order came from ex-Deputy Commissioner Ambrosio Ogumuro, who directed ex-governor Fitial's thug squad. Atalig testified that as a result of that threat the F.B.I. got involved in serving the summons.

The court admitted into evidence 16 videos showing footage of the Aquarius Beach Hotel lobby and Saipan International Airport where Fitial's thug squad blocked the investigators from serving the summons.

Public Auditor Michael Pai also testified during the trial. His testimony focused on Buckingham's election-gate violations during the 2010 campaign. (See this link for a series of posts that outline Buckingham's violations in supporting the campaign of Joseph Camacho, who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House CNMI Delegate seat.)

Associate Superior Court Judge Ken Govendo warned Buckingham's attorney Richard Pierce that he would be charged with contempt if he continued making inappropriate remarks and statements while cross-examining witnesses. Pierce accused the judge of taking sides.

Ex-governor Fitial can enjoy the details of the trial from his Makati, Philippines penthouse. As always, the cowardly ex-governor lets the other unethical characters who assisted in his corrupt schemes suffer for his illegal and self-serving actions.


Anonymous said...

Guilty and still smug.

Anonymous said...

Will he serve time or just get a slap on his hand? Why hasn't the CNMI Bar disbarred this man who has done so much damage and cost us so much money? It just goes to show how the attys in the CNMI look the other way when one of their own breaks the law. A band of professional enablers with no integrity, all.

Anonymous said...

A person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. So there would be no disbarment until after a felony conviction that becomes final after exhaustion of any appeals.

High self-satisfaction and smugness are not crimes, nor even significant character flaws. They are quite common among activists and those with very liberal, progressive political views such as Edward Taylor Buckingham III or Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan.

Anonymous said...


. . . smugness and high self satisfaction are significant character flaws. Look int he mirror.