He's Back!

April 26, 2014

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Ex-governor Benigno Fitial, who left the CNMI in February 2013 rather than face a Senate impeachment trial, returned yesterday to Saipan. He will go on trial next week for corruption-related felony charges. The disgraced ex-governor will have a pre-trial hearing in Superior Court on April 30.

The charges against Fitial are: conspiracy to commit theft of services; conspiracy to obstruct justice by interference with service of process; conspiracy to obstruct justice by interference with a law enforcement officer or a witness; theft of services; misconduct in public office; obstructing justice by interference with a law enforcement officer or witness; and obstructing justice by interference with service of process related to the conspiracy to block service of a judicial summons to ex-Attorney General Edward Buckingham.

In February 2014, Fitial's co-conspirator, former CNMI Attorney General and convicted felon Edward Buckingham III was found guilty of use of public supplies, time and personnel for campaign activities; use of the name of a government department or agency to campaign and/or express support for a candidate running for public office; misconduct in public office (related to campaign matter); conspiracy to commit theft of services (related to escort issue); misconduct in public office (pertaining to escort issue); conspiracy to commit theft service (related to use government counsels to represent him); and misconduct in public office (use of government counsels).

Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth Govendo let Buckingham off with an insultingly lenient sentence. The criminal who inflicted so much damage to the people of the CNMI had his 3.5 years of time behind bars suspended, was fined $14,000, placed on unsupervised probation and prohibited from being employed by the CNMI Government for 20 years. Not even community service!

At Buckingham trial's Fitial's nephew, Jermaine Nekaifes testified against the former CNMI Attorney General Edward Buckingham. Charges against Nekaifes were dismissed in exchange for his testimony. He will also be required to testify against Fitial as a condition of the dismissal.

Can we expect the same slap on the wrist for Fitial or will Associate Judge David Wiseman consider the damage that Fitial inflicted on the people of the CNMI and give him the harsh sentence that he deserves?

Fitial is the epitome of the politician who plays dirty and is dirty. For decades Fitial has committed corrupt acts, and yet somehow he was able to avoid prosecution. His corrupt dealings with felon Jack Abramoff when he a House speaker, and his involvement in Willy Tan's corrupt garment factory where he and current Governor Eloy Inos held the top executive positions are just a couple of examples. His disrespect for the legal, long-term foreign workers is legendary and despicable.

Perhaps the fact that Fitial avoided prosecution for so long empowered him to become the arrogant, lying, self-serving man that hurt so many. The criminal acts of corrupt government officials are not victimless crimes. People are paying with tax dollars.  The CNMI is paying with its reputation. May justice be served.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just like I said before, it's the lackadaisical CNMI justice system that lets criminal keep going and going like the Everyready bunny. If the AG prosecuted more cases and the judges gave harsher sentences it would put criminals behind bars and set an example to deter would be criminals. Wiseman has a chance to stop the cycle on leniency. DO IT!

Anonymous said...

Hopefully Wiseman will actually impose jail time if this clown is convicted, but doubtful.
It has seemed in the past that Wiseman has been upset with the antics of the AG and some of the staff.
Maybe he will consider the source in regards to Fitial.

The biggest problem with this whole thing is that if Fitial is convicted Inose will pardon him.
Inose cannot pardon him before the election as it for sure would be a death blow on his election.
But when Inose loses the election he will pardon Fitial prior to leaving office, as Fitial has done to other high profile violent offenders.(only to have them rearrested again for other crimes)

The best scenario may be for this trail to be delayed until after the election and we have a new Gov.
BUT the same problem exists on a lessor degree with the other two main candidates. More s if Babauta is elected. (which hopefully will not happen)
Either way we have not much choices for an honest competent Gov running for election.

Anonymous said...

so shame on fitial....ran away to PI...pi wife but hating pi poor people....hope u treated well by..oh no u got lots of corrupted money..no problem for u...same same...hungry,greedy.selfish,dishonest...shame on u...u must stay in jail for at least 10 years...

Anonymous said...

Yes, may justice be served!

Anonymous said...

go to he'll

Anonymous said...

Jail time or shame, you guys don't know what you are talking about.

He will get some jail time suspended and the rest will be at his mansion with travel perks to PI and CA.

He will continue to draw his 8k monthly CNMI retirement (the fear of losing by judgment is why he came back), the 22k monthly from TH fish industry, and his 400,000. home.