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House panel summons Finance officials

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THE House Special Committee on Fiscal Review of Executive Expenditures on Monday unanimously voted to summon three witnesses to testify before the panel on Thursday morning.

These three witnesses are  Secretary of Finance David Atalig, Finance Director of Administrative Services Margaret Bertha Torres, and the governor's legal counsel Gilbert Birnbrich.

The special committee is concerned over the redaction of documents that it specifically requested that the Department of Finance not redact.

These documents include records showing the credit cardholder names and credit card numbers of at least 17 different credit cards that were used by Gov. Ralph DLG Torres for expenditures for which he was later reimbursed, the committee stated.

The committee intends to find out whether or not Governor Torres' name is on all of these credit cards.

It is also seeking other documents, including all payroll records of the governor's personal security detail, as well as the master reports from the general ledger that the department has generated for other categories of expenses including travel and utilities.

 

 

Members of the House Special Committee on Fiscal Review of Executive Expenditures met on Monday in the House chamber. Photo by K-Andrea Evarose S. Limol

In a written affidavit to the committee, Director Torres stated that as advised by legal counsel, private information is redacted because it is confidential and protected by law.

However, the special committee stated that Director Torres did not indicate that legal counsel advised the department to redact original documents that are public record.

The bipartisan special committee is chaired Rep. Ralph Yumul, and its members are Vice Speaker Lorenzo Deleon Guerrero, House Floor Leader John Paul Sablan, House Minority Leader Edwin Propst, Reps. Luis John Castro, Donald Manglona, Tina Sablan, and Edmund Villagomez.

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