Two homes, a piggery, and a cover up: Babauta claps back at Torres utilities scandal


The following is a transcription of remarks Congresswoman Celina Roberto Babauta (D-Saipan) made in the House Chamber following the testimony of Gary Camacho, executive director of the Commonwealth Utilities Commission. The remarks follow testimony that exposed how the Commonwealth’s taxpayers funded the power and water bills of two homes (one belonging to the governor and the other to his sister) during overlapping periods, and a private piggery on the governor’s residence, and how the CUC made changes to account information only after a subpoena commanded documents related to those accounts last month.

The video of the speech itself follows the transcript:

Other than air itself, water is the most important life-giving substance on the planet. At a time when CUC was rationing water for As Teo, Governor Torres was racking up water usage in the hundreds of thousands of gallons per month to support a commercial piggery on his private residence. It is clear, based on Exhibit presented today that CNMI taxpayers were paying for at least 3 CUC accounts on the private residence of Governor Torres and Mrs. Diann Torres and the private residence of his sister, Ms. Judy Marie Torres in Koblerville.

That was undoubtedly established with the testimony of Executive Director Gary Camacho and the copies of the billings of the private residence of Governor Ralph DLG Torres and Mrs. Diann Tudela Torres.

Records also reflect that CNMI taxpayers paid for overlapping periods on these accounts including the period right after Super Typhoon Yutu, when our entire island was without power. Records reflect that account number 66904 registered in the name of Ms. Judy Marie Torres was paid total amount of $36,069.56 by the CNMI Government for power usage for the period of January 2015 – September 2018. However, during the period of January 2018 – September 2018, records reflect that account number 88274 registered in the name of Governor Ralph DLG Torres was also paid by the government. According to exhibit #57, a work order from CUC, this meter number supplies the piggery, a garage and the outside kitchen located on the governor’s property.

On September 8, 2020, CHCC’s utilities was disconnected by, putting patient’s lives at risk. Patients who were on dialysis had to have their treatments rescheduled, life-saving surgical appointments had to be rescheduled, radiology appointments had to be postponed because the machines used consume so much power, it would overload the antiquated power system of our only Hospital. During this same time period, Governor Torres continued to rack up thousands of dollars in monthly utility bills on at least 3 utility accounts, has been in arrears and as was established was given preferential treatment and never disconnected…NOT ONCE…. Even as his utility bill reached as high as $119K based on the records we have received from CUC. All of this while lives were put at risk at the hospital and ordinary citizens like you and I, would have our electricity disconnected over a $50 dollar CUC bill if we were even a day late.

Based on the testimony of Mr. Gary Camacho today, I find it highly suspicious that adjustments are being made after the subpoena was issued in August. Adjustments that include an $11K transfer to the Governor’s brother, Mr. Joaquin Torres, and a $90K adjustment recently made that had no other justification than, a determination by CUC management, nothing more.

Thank you. We will recess until Wednesday, September 29, at 10:30a.m.

 


2 Comments

  • My mother was one of the patients that had to suffer the impact of this corruption.
    Now, let justice rain on.😪😢
    I cant even talk,its too painfull to tell you the story of how my mother suffer the impact of typhoon,how helplessly i felt when i cant even see a drop of water while im taking care of a critical bed ridden patient.
    If only i knew theres water at the governors piggerys i would go fetch some.😢time we cant forget.

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