Federal investigators continue inquiry into Babauta - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Federal investigators continue inquiry into Babauta

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Federal investigators are on Guam this week interviewing several island leaders in their probe of Department of the Interior assistant secretary for insular affairs Tony Babauta. A month after contacting him, University of Guam president Dr. Robert Underwood says the Inspector General's Office of DOI paid him a visit this morning as part of the ongoing investigation into the federal official.

Underwood told KUAM News, "We had two agents who came in and they asked a series of questions and interviewed me and a couple of other staff members." And the investigation doesn't stop there, as the IG also made its way to Adelup interviewing Governor Eddie Calvo on Tuesday. "I was interviewed by the Inspector General's Office," the chief executive confirmed, "and of course at this time, these questions that were asked I'm not privy to give my answers. It's an ongoing investigation."

The Office of Inspector General is conducting an investigation into Babauta's travel as well as reviewing grants that were awarded by the Office of Insular Affairs. Babauta has since been placed on administrative leave. Over a million dollars of those grants were awarded to UOG, but as he's previously noted, the university itself it not under any kind of investigation.

"They asked questions about specific grants and we think we have the answers and we think it will hold the university up very well," continued Underwood. Underwood says the interview went on for over two hours in which investigators asked for certain documents and financial reports. He wasn't sure when the OIG would be leaving but had previously indicated they would be here for a week.

"But other than that I felt that the individuals were very professional and they had a series of questions 1106 of course they're in the middle of an investigation and I'm sure they're asking a number of players different questions about different grants and contracts," he said.

Calvo meanwhile could not divulge any further details of the interview and the investigation but says he'll let the IG do its job and is here to assist in any which way possible. He added, "But I wish the best for Tony Babauta both as an individual fellow from Guam and I want to see things work well for him as well as for the people of Guam and the Department of the Interior."

Guam Community College assistant director for communications and promotions Jayne Flores tells KUAM News that GCC president Mary Okada was briefly interviewed as well by the IG regarding the grants GCC has received by the DOI.

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