7 Nov 2014

Court throws out case of former CNMI governor Fitial

8:35 pm on 7 November 2014

The Superior Court of the Northern Marianas has dismissed the criminal charges filed in May against the former governor Benigno Fitial.

Former governor Benigno Fitial

Former Northern Marianas Governor Benigno Fitial Photo: RNZ Mark Rabago

The court has ruled that the Office of the Public Auditor had no authority to file the charges, dismissing the case without prejudice, meaning it cannot be re-filed in the future.

The charges related to the unauthorised release of a federal inmate and the awarding of a sole-source American Recovery and Reinvestment Act contract.

He was also accused of shielding a former attorney general Edward Buckingham from being served with penal summons.

The court says Mr Fitial is now a private citizen, adding that the attorney general retains prosecutorial authority over such an action when the defendant is not currently in office.

Mr Fitial resigned as governor in February last year days after being impeached, before fleeing with his wife for the Philippines a day later.

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