19 Jan 2009

New bribery charge against Lieutenant Governor in CNMI

6:38 am on 19 January 2009

The United States government has filed an additional bribery charge against Lieutenant Governor Timothy Villagomez and co-defendants James and Joaquina Santos

The new charge alleges that Mr Villagomez accepted a 15,000 US dollar bribe from the Santos couple for approving the purchase of Rydlyme, a cleaning chemical, for the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation.

The new indictment also adds a count of bribery against the Santos couple for allegedly offering the 15,000 to Mr Villagomez.

Mr Villagomez and the Santos couple appeared on Friday in the U.S. District Court for the CNMI.

The defendants are alleged to have conspired to bilk the CNMI government out of thousands of dollars through business deals involving needless purchases of Rydlyme for the corporation.

Mr Villagomez and the Santos couple have pleaded not guilty.

The former CUC executive director, Anthony Guerrero, who was also charged with wire fraud, conspiracy, and theft of federal funds, signed a plea agreement and entered a guilty plea.