Airport to put up safeguards following embezzlement incident

212

The Guam International Airport Authority is planning to put up safeguards in response to the embezzlement incident reported by the Office of Public Accountability

According to GIAA executive manager Tom Ada, they have not filed any charges to collect, however, the airport plans to keep its finances under a microscope.

“As far as the airport is concerned, you owe us this amount and we’re just gonna have to work on getting that payment made,” Ada said in an interview with K57’s Patti Arroyo.

A Guam-based manager of an unnamed air carrier allegedly embezzled around $491,000, according to the latest audit report issued by the OPA on the airport authority.

The embezzled funds were taken from the passenger facility charges (PFC) collected by air carriers at the time of ticket issuance.

“The term embezzlement was used by the parent company of the airline in question. They wrote a corporate check to the local station manager, he was able to cash it and put some of that in his own personal checking account. And then wrote a check against it and sent it to us,” Ada said.

He added, “The next thing we knew we were getting visits from officials from the parent company. As far as we knew the local station manager had left.”

According to the OPA report, the embezzlement occurred between 2016 and 2018. OPA received the hotline tip on Jan. 2019.

The airport was alerted after the airport comptroller saw a drop in PFC remittances despite the increase in visitor arrivals.

Prior to the release of the OPA audit, a report from the Korean Times indicated that a Korean Air official was being investigated for embezzling nearly $24 million. PNC has reached out to the airline to confirm if the cases are linked. However, as of news time, no response was received from the airline.