Rota mayor seeks court permission to attend sister’s funeral on Guam

ROTA Mayor Efraim Atalig is again seeking the federal court’s permission to travel to Guam, this time to attend his sister’s funeral which is set for Jan. 21, 2019.

Atalig’s lawyer David Banes told the District Court for the NMI that  the Rota mayor plans to depart on Jan. 20 for Guam and return to Rota on Jan. 22.

Efraim M. Atalig

The U.S. government does not oppose Atalig’s travel request, Banes added.

Last week, Mayor Atalig was allowed by Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona  to travel to Guam to attend the Association of Mariana Islands Mayors, Vice Mayors and Elected Municipal Council Members’ 25th general assembly on Jan. 9, 2019.

The Rota mayor and his girlfriend, Evelyn Atalig, have been charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, theft from program receiving federal funds, and two counts of false statements.

The U.S. government accused the Ataligs of arranging CNMI-government funded trips to California, Palau, Guam, and Saipan under fraudulent pretenses.

Judge Manglona has scheduled their jury trial for March 12, 2019.

In CNMI Superior Court, Mayor Atalig and seven Rota resident directors  have been accused of taking government-funded per diem and salary compensation to attend a political rally on Guam on June 23, 2018.

The eight were charged with theft and misconduct in public office, and with performing illegal acts under the color of office.