A preliminary review of the documents submitted by Secretary of Finance David Atalig, Jr. to the CNMI House joint investigative committee shows Gov. Ralph Torres has given away more than $10,490,000 to 241 businesses. That is an average of $43,526.97 granted by the Building Optimism, Opportunities and Stability Together (BOOST) program, which is federally funded. Most of the owners of these companies are republican cronies of the governor, according to multiple sources of information.
Kandit asked joint committee co-chairwoman, Rep. Celina Roberto Babauta, to confirm the details. She and the committee are unable to divulge details prior to the resumption of hearings, which are anticipated next week, when administration officials and bankers respond to subpoenas.
Suspicious emails between Bank of Saipan and Wil Castro
“Of the five subpoena duces tecum served upon the Bank of Guam, the Bank of Saipan, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Finance, and the Office of the Governor through the Chief of Staff that have been served,” Ms. Babauta said. “We have received a list from the Secretary of Finance, Mr. David Atalig and a more detailed list from the Bank of Saipan. What is most telling is the communications between the Chief of Staff and Bank of Saipan officials.”
She continued, “The Offices of Chairman Donald Manglona and my office are now processing the documents to scan and distribute it to members of both committees in preparation of the Joint meeting called for on December 16, 2022. At this time, we are unable to disclose any information because we have not vetted any witness testimony that have been summoned to appear before the joint committee.”
Ms. Babauta, however, did confirm that according to Mr. Atalig’s list, 241 businesses were paid $10,490,000. She also confirmed certain businesses received up to $250,000 a piece.
Some businesses, according to a confidential source, have submitted multiple applications. So, while (as an example) ‘Company A’ was granted and already received $250,000, Company A has three pending applications that conceivably could net that business a million dollars in free money.