Kilili calls out Torres: 'Enough with the corruption and cronyism'



By Johnnie Rosario

johnnie@kanditnews.com


CNMI Congressman Gregorio "Kilili" Sablan had enough and Monday morning came out swinging against the corruption and cronyism that has dominated Gov. Ralph Torres's administration.


"Didn't you learn anything from the execution and service of federal court search warrants upon yourself and some members of your family?" Mr. Sablan asked in a public message to the governor opposing Mr. Torres's efforts to consolidate the spending of nearly a billion dollars in federal grant money under his authority.


Mr. Torres is establishing a recovery office under his auspices that will be responsible for the procurement and contracting of the federal money the CNMI government anticipates from the federal government.


Mr. Sablan, in his public message, also warns the governor's minions against committing illegal acts, warning that, "Government employees who work against the spirit and letter of federal grants could be subjected to charges as well. The claim that 'the Governor told me to do something a certain way' is no defense for violating federal grant conditions."


The congressman ended his advice to the governor with a stern warning:


"Stop the corruption and cronyism in the government. It is enough that people have lost their trust in their government. The Commonwealth was not establish for your personal benefit.

"It is for the benefit and interest of the general public. For our people. Not for the personal interest and personal wealth of Ralph Torres and his family!"

Read Mr. Sablan's full statement below:


"Northern Marianas College (NMC) and the Public School System (PSS) autonomy are granted in the NMI Constitution. The Commonwealth Health Care Corporation (CHCC) and the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation (CUC) are independent public corporations set forth by law.

They have, by law, immunity from arbitrary exercise of authority and political independence from such device as that you have set up. They have their own procurement rules and regulations that govern their contracting authorities.

By "herding" these agencies' potentially hundreds of millions of dollars' construction projects into a more inferior agency you established makes one wonder if your naked intention is to control who gets awarded contracts. And people are no longer blind to your self serving interest in managing the Commonwealth Government's business.

Didn't you learn anything from the execution and service of federal court search warrants upon yourself and some members of your family?

Be forewarned that I am assured that the several federal department and agency Inspector Generals will perform an oversight of how federal monies such as the CDBG-DR and monies that I am working to bring in the American Jobs Plan are all kept and managed above board.

Government employees who work against the spirit and letter of federal grants could be subjected to charges as well. The claim that "the Governor told me to do something a certain way" is no defense for violating federal grant conditions.

And just as the federal government, FEMA in this case, refused to reimburse the Commonwealth for illegally paid overtime costs, the Commonwealth could be in the hook for millions of dollars of expenditures that paid out and are inconsistent with federal grant conditions.

NMC and PSS are autonomous agencies. CHCC and CUC are independent agencies. Allow them to work on grants I am working to get for them. They do it better than a new office you are establishing from the scratch.

I am not working on getting money for these agencies so that you can give contracts to your preferred contractors. Who knows what you will personally benefit from the arrangement you are trying to devise.

Stop the corruption and cronyism in the government. It is enough that people have lost their trust in their government. The Commonwealth was not establish for your personal benefit.

It is for the benefit and interest of the general public. For our people. Not for the personal interest and personal wealth of Ralph Torres and his family!"

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