7 Aug 2009

CNMI's Villagomez trial drives rise in corruption reports

9:19 am on 7 August 2009

A politician in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas says there's been a sharp rise in reports of government corruption.

The comment follows the sentencing of Timothy Villagomez, formerly the lieutenant governor, to just over seven years for his part in defrauding the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

His accomplices, the former Commerce Secretary James Santos and his wife Joaquina Santos, each received sentences of six and a half years along with a fine of 25,000 dollars and all three were ordered to pay restitution of almost 350,000 dollars.

Tina Sablan, a member of the House of Representatives, says more and more people are reporting corruption.

"And they're small tips or major tips but they're calling it into the proper authorities which is I guess as much as we could have hoped for and I think it's very encouraging. Like I said, I think this is a real turning point for the CNMI."

Tina Sablan of the CNMI House of Representatives.