21 Aug 2012

Lawsuit filed to stop $190m power deal in CNMI

1:56 pm on 21 August 2012

A lawsuit has been filed in the Northern Marianas to prevent the Governor, Benigno Fitial and the former Attorney General, Edward Buckingham, from pursuing a 190-million US dollar deal with Saipan Development LLC.

Under the controversial deal, the Delaware incoporated company is to build and operate a power plant on Saipan with the government utility buying electricity from it.

On Monday, a Representative Janet Maratita filed a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction in the Superior Court.

She says this matter is of great public concern because it involves a secret deal that will cost the CNMI taxpayers and ratepayers more than 200 million dollars over 25 years.

She has also filed a private lawsuit against the governor, Mr Buckingham and the power company for taxpayer's right of action, the illegal expenditure of public funds and a breach of fiduciary duty.

She asked the Superior Court to declare that the power purchase agreement is unconstitutional, illegal, unconscionable, and unjust and therefore cancelled.