Marshall Islands prosecutors drop 87 of 90 criminal charges in bribery case
MAJURO, 08 MAY 2017 (MARIANAS VARIETY) — In a development that surprised law enforcement investigators, a former Majuro hospital administrator obtained a plea agreement with the Marshall Islands Attorney General’s Office last week dismissing 87 of the 90 criminal charges filed against him in 2014. [restrict]
Former hospital administrator Francis Silk’s attorney John Masek and Deputy Attorney General Johnathen Kawakami reached the agreement the day that jury selection was scheduled to begin for Silk’s long-delayed trial.
He was originally charged in April 2014 with 18 counts each of bribery in official matters, misconduct in public office, theft by deception, securing execution of documents by deception and criminal conspiracy.
The original charges, many of them felonies, claimed he received over $53,600 during an 18-month period for helping the pharmaceutical company Genesis win hundreds of thousands of dollars in hospital supply contracts.
In separate criminal actions in the High Court in Majuro, Genesis was heavily fined by the government and agreed to shut down its Majuro business operations for at least 10 years as a result of the investigation in 2014 that sent its Majuro manager to jail in the bribery scandal.
Tuesday’s plea agreement resulted in Silk pleading “no contest” to three misdemeanor charges of “Securing Execution of Documents by Deception.” At a hearing the same day, Chief Justice Carl Ingram accepted Silk’s pleas on the three charges and found him guilty. The other 87 charges were dismissed.
Law enforcement investigators who had prepared evidence for the upcoming trial said they were surprised by the plea agreement as they had been advised a few days prior to the agreement being reached to be ready for Silk’s trial.
Ingram approved the sentence terms of the plea deal reached by Masek and Kawakami. Silk is to pay US$20,000 to the Marshall Islands government, US$2,500 of which is due by May 15 and the balance is to be paid at a monthly rate of US$750.
Silk will receive no jail term and instead is to perform 50 hours of community service at a rate of 10 hours per month starting June 1. He is banned from seeking or accepting work with the Marshall Islands government for five years, until May 1, 2022…..PACNEWS [/restrict]