Washington D.C. – CNMI Congressman Greg Kilili Sablan says Interior Assistant Secretary Tony Babauta who has resigned effective this Friday, did nothing criminal.
Sablan was asked why he joined Guam’s Madeleine Bordallo and the Virgin Island’s Donna Christensen to urge Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to only make “appreciative comments” upon Babauta’s leaving, especially if an Inspector General probe of alleged travel and contract abuses, involving at least a grant to the University of Guam, either wasn’t over, or may have found something that caused Babauta to resign.
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SABLAN: “One, I don’t think that Secretary Babauta did anything criminal. If he has, he should have been charged. He has not been charged with anything.”
Sablan’s office, and House Natural Resource staff say the Interior IG probe has not concluded, though sources say the panel was briefed on what an IG team found after it went to Guam, which could have then led to the resignation.
Sablan also says there were briefings. “If he made some mistakes in judgment, I understand they were looking at some travel issues, from our own briefings, for staff at the Committee. And, I understand there’s also an issue about a contract that the Micronesian Chief Executives wanted him to do, but I have not been told that he has broken the law.”
Babauta has privately maintained his innocence, but his resignation, before the IG even issues a report, or clears him, has raised a cloud that has some here asking, if there was a deal to quash any findings that might interfere with Babauta’s future political plans, including a possible run for Guam Governor.