27 Aug 2012

CNMI lawmakers to start signing Benigno Fitial impeachment resolution

3:31 pm on 27 August 2012

Lawmakers in the Northern Marianas are to start signing an impeachment resolution pushing for the removal of the governor, Benigno Fitial, from today.

Members of the House minority bloc and other House members claim Mr Fitial committed multiple felonies and acts of public corruption, and neglected his sworn duties.

The articles of impeachment include Mr Fitial ordering a federal inmate released temporarily from prison to give him a massage and his alleged use of armed police to stop the former attorney general Edward Buckingham being served a penal summons.

Other offences include Mr Fitial's failure to remove Mr Buckingham despite his involvement in a political gathering and use of public resources for political campaigns.

The controversial signing by both men of a 191 million US dollar power purchase agreement may also be included in the resolution.

Under the NMI Constitution the Legislature may impeach the governor for treason, commission of a felony, corruption, or neglect of duty.

In the 20-member House, which is dominated by Mr Fitial's allies, at least 14 affirmative votes are needed to impeach him.