23 Jul 2014

CNMI Auditor says Fitial's interpretation 'absurd'

2:34 pm on 23 July 2014

The Office of the Public Auditor in the Northern Marianas has described as absurd the former governor Benigno Fitial's argument that it has no authority to bring charges.

Fitial, through his counsel Stephen Nutting, earlier argued the legislature had no authority to grant to OPA the power to prosecute a criminal complaint, especially when that power was afforded to the Attorney General under the CNMI Constitution.

The OPA legal counsel, George Hasselback, responded that not only does Fitial's interpretation disregard the basic sentence structure of the statute, but such an interpretation would also result in absurd applications that would waste time, money and the resources of the government, as to render the entire statute useless.

On May the 1st, the OPA filed a complaint charging Fitial with 10 various criminal charges while in office.

It later added three further charges.

The 68-year-old Fitial pleaded not guilty to all charges.