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Utu Abe Malae resigns as chief of CNMI utility

Governor Benigno R. Fitial of The Northern Marianas on Wednesday night accepted the resignation of Commonwealth Utilities Corp. Executive Director Utu Abe Malae.

Malae submitted his resignation following the governor’s declaration of a CUC state of emergency amid an ongoing protest filed by of one of the renewable energy contractors who did not get the deal.

Fitial on Thursday said he accepted Malae’s resignation but declined to elaborate. Malae initially declined to comment, but emailed his answers to the Variety’s questions late Thursday afternoon.

In written statement, the governor said: “I have accepted Mr. Malae’s resignation because I believe a change in leadership is necessary for four reasons.”

Among these reasons are the utility rates, which he said are among the highest in the United States and are having a direct impact upon every household in the community. Fitial said the people are “suffering” as they have to choose between basic necessities and paying power bills.

Malae stated that he had intended to leave the CNMI in March, but changed his mind.  “Now, it is the opportune time to leave,” he said.

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