25 Apr 2007

Former governors in Northern Marianas denied annuities by retirement fund crisis

1:35 pm on 25 April 2007

The Northern Mariana Islands Retirement Fund says it doesn't have enough money to pay the special annuities of former governors and lieutenant governors.

The Fund says it has close to 32,000 U.S. dollars in special annuity funds available for the third quarter of the current financial year, but needs nearly 55,000 for the six who have chosen to take annuities rather than a retirement pension like others.

Last year, the Executive Branch was reported to owe the Fund nearly half a million dollars in contributions for the special annuities.

There was no provision for that payment in the latest budget.

The government's failure to fund the special benefits for former governors and lieutenant governors was one of the causes of action cited by the Fund in its pending lawsuit against the central government.

The Fund has sued the present governor and the central government over the enactment of a law that suspends the government's employer contribution until the end of this financial year, and the failure to remit needed funds amounting to nearly 120 million dollars.