November 14, 2019, Tamuning, Guam-The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the Office of Public Accountability (OPA) have teamed up to tackle the misuse of government funds and uphold the rule of law.
Public Auditor Benjamin ‘BJ’ Cruz and Attorney General (AG) Leevin Taitano Camacho will review the practices of government agencies to determine if they are following the laws on paying government officials. This collaboration comes after the OAG discovered that the Consolidated Commission Utilities (CCU) held closed-door discussions on pay raises and bonuses for certain employees. This action violated the Open Government Law, which requires that any discussion about salaries be held in a public setting.
Following this discovery, the OAG requested the OPA to audit the practices of autonomous agencies relative to employee compensation. “The law is clear: government officials cannot make decisions behind closed doors, especially when those decisions involve spending of taxpayers’ dollars,” said AG Camacho. “We will continue to work with the Public Auditor and other government partners to push for transparency in our government, to enforce our laws, and to hold people who break the law accountable for their actions.”
If agencies or government officials are found to be violating the Open Government Law or any other laws, the OAG will decide, on a case-by-case basis, on the most appropriate remedy, which may include civil, criminal, or administrative action.
“A critical component of our strategic plan is to actively pursue critical partnerships to ensure our overall effectiveness as an audit office. Our partnership with the OAG is no doubt a win-win situation for the people of Guam,” said Public Auditor BJ Cruz.
If you are aware of, or suspect, the misuse of government funds, please call the OPA’s hotline at 47AUDIT (472-8348) or visit http://opaguam.org/hotline-and-citizen-concerns, where reports can be made anonymously.