9 May 2006

Northern Marianas' government officials given one months grace to file financial statements

5:53 pm on 9 May 2006

The Northern Mariana's public auditor says he hopes government officials will take advantage of a four week grace period to file their statements of financial interests as required by law.

44 percent of the 539 officials required to file the statements for 2005 failed to meet the deadline of May 1.

Mike Sablan says they now have until the end of the month to file their statements - one of the requirements of the Commonwealth's strict code of ethics.

He says there have been lots of reminder notices, phone calls and media publicity on the matter.

"It puzzles me why. Many inform me they forgot about the deadline. Our office goes out of its way to remind its officials as early as March."

Mike Sablan says they will start imposing a daily ten US dollar fine for non-compliance, from next month.