12 Feb 2013

CNMI governor impeached on 13 charges

10:53 am on 12 February 2013

The Northern Marianas House of Representatives impeached the Governor Benigno Fitial on 13 charges of corruption, felony, and neglect of duty during a heated session yesterday afternoon.

The governor was impeached by a vote of 16-4 on 12 of the charges.

On a 13th charge the vote was 16-3 with an abstention from the minority leader George Camacho who signalled a conflict of interest.

The articles adopted by the House include the unauthorised release of a federal inmate to allegedly give the governor a massage at his private residence early one morning three years ago.

Another issue is the governor's commitment to a sole-source 190 million US dollar power purchase agreement with a Delaware based company.

Other charges include the awarding of a sole-source federal government management contract worth almost 400,000 US dollars and the failure to remove the former attorney general, Edward Buckingham, for legal violations and for frustrating attempts to have him served a penal summons.