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Creation of Office of the Public Prosecutor proposed

Updated: Mar 6


William Parkinson

By Pacific Island Times News Staff


Sen. William Parkinson has introduced a bill seeking to resolve the inherent conflict of interest that muddles the Office of the Attorney General's functions by creating a separate Office of the Public Prosecutor.


Currently, the Attorney General's Office holds dual responsibilities. While representing government agencies as their legal counsel, the OAG also prosecutes corruption within those very agencies.


"By separating these two critical functions, the new office will specialize in investigating and prosecuting cases with autonomy, thereby safeguarding the principle of impartial justice," Parkinson said.


Attorney General Douglas Moylan submitted his own draft proposal to the Guam legislature "to clarify the status and relationship of the attorney

general with regard to review of procurement  documents."


Moylan's proposed bill would add a section to the current law that defines the roles of the attorney general.


"Attorney General reviews and approves or rejects the procurement documents

 submitted to the attorney general for review," Moylan's proposed legislation reads. 


"Any review by the attorney general of the procurement documents  submitted 

to his office shall not prevent  the attorney general from later prosecuting persons in  a civil or criminal proceeding associated with that  procurement, I

including but not limited to situations wherein additional information becomes available that was not earlier known to the attorney general," states the still unsponsored bill.


The conflict of interest problem arose when Moylan last week announced that his office began investigating government agencies,


In her state of the island address on Tuesday night, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero criticized Moylan's move, which she said could be "paralyzing."


"With no warning to the impacted agencies, vendors, or taxpayers,

 the attorney general, pending guidance by the courts, withdrew from his Organic Act responsibility to represent nearly two dozen GovGuam agencies," she said. "Left unresolved, critical departments will lack the basic legal guidance they need to operate,"


The governor urged the legislature "to help us resolve this serious issue."


In response, Parkinson introduced his proposal for the establishment of the Office of the Public Prosecutor.


"The formation of the Office of the Public Prosecutor marks a significant step forward in our ongoing efforts to uphold the highest standards of integrity and public trust," Parkinson said. "This move ensures that the government's legal affairs are handled without conflict of interest, promoting a culture of accountability and ethical governance."

 

The Office of the Public Prosecutor would be an appointive office and its job would include providing legal advice and guidance to ensure government entities operate within the confines of the law.


"The Office of the Public Prosecutor will have the authority to investigate, bring charges, and prosecute individuals, government officials, and others who break the law," Parkinson said. “By creating a dedicated Office of the Public Prosecutor, we are sharpening our legal instruments to cut deeper into the criminal activities that threaten the safety and well-being of our citizens."

 



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