KOROR LAWMAKER FACES THEFT CHARGES

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SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Mar 12) – Koror State legislator Timothy Uehara is facing 92 counts of criminal complaints for allegedly receiving monthly rents payments for land owned by the Koror State Public Lands Authority (KSPLA).

The charges against Uehara filed by the Office of the Special Prosecutor ranges from 43 counts of grand larceny, 43 counts of false pretense, two counts of perjury and three counts of misconduct in public office.

[PIR editor’s note: Koror, the former capitol of Palau, has traditionally served as the hub of economic activities for the island. The new capitol is centrally located in Melekeok on the east coast of the main island of Babeldaob.]

According to the affidavit of probable cause executed by Brenda Santos investigator for the Special Prosecutor’s Office said that records of the KSPLA stated that there is no contract nor lease agreement between the property named 4 Seasons or the defendant amd KSPLA or the Koror State Government for the first floor area of the T-Dock waiting house and that Uehara never paid any rent to KSPLA for the property.

The affidavit said that records from the Koror State Government Finance Department do not reflect any payments made by Uehara to the Koror State Government for the T-Dock waiting house space.

The affidavit said that a taxpayer registration form from the revenue and taxation office lists Uehara and Joan Demei as the owners of the 4 seasons.

The affidavit further said that a business license application dated year 2000 also lists Uehara and Demei as owners.

On May 4, 2001, the business ceased operation and that the business was sold to Regina Mesebeluu.

The affidavit said that Ernest Ongidobel stated that he bought the business from Uehara for US$5,000 in 2001 but the business remained under Demei’s and Uehara’s name.

The affidavit stated that Ongidobel stated that he paid US$500 per month rent to Uehara until he sold the business to Mesebeluu in 2002.

It said that the rent was collected by Koror State employees who work under Uehara.

Augustine Mesebeluu meanwhile, stated that the business was bought from Ongidobel and Demei and made monthly rental payments to Uehara.

The business then was bought from Mesebeluu by Dilmei Olkeriil who made mothly payments to Uehara.,

The affidavit said that in total Uehara reportedly collected US$22,000 as rent for the T-Dock waiting house.

The affidavit said the Uehara signed the financial disclosure statement forms on Jan. 15, 2002, January 28,2003 and Nov. 14, 2005 in which it was certified that he had no new reportable assets or source of income from non-government employment and never declared that he has been receiving monthly rent payments.

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