FORMER PALAU PRESIDENT DEFENDS FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

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Denies charges his government made illegal expenditures

KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, May 13, 2009) – Former President and Sen. Senator Remengesau said that all President Johnson Toribiong need to do about the financial situation is to ask clarification from the former administration.

He said that there were no illegal expenditures with him at the helm in the government.

"I do not know how the information is being presented to President Toribiong, but we’re readily available to explain any misinformation. All they need to do is ask for clarification so that we don’t continue to confuse or misinform the public. Election season is over and the people expect us to do what we’ve been promising—no excuses and no blame," Remengesau said in a statement.

He said that there has been no cover-up in the government expenditures during his time and recent financial reports made by international organizations will prove transparency.

"Let me also give the facts, we have only one financial system – one set of computerized accounting records. More importantly, there are highly competent and credible international organizations that have looked at our financial records and gave their independent, unbiased, and factual reports. Organizations like the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Asian Development Bank (ADB), who we know would not cover up any wrong-doings for any administration. The reviews by these reputable international organizations have shown us where we are and what we need to do. There is no cover-up and we can easily prove our transparency just by looking at even a few of those recent reports," Remengesau said.

He added that the information that the president is claiming is not new and that there have always been legal expenditure commitments and they continue to exceed the country’s available revenues.

"The challenge has always been to expand the revenue base to cover and meet those obligations," Remengesau said.

He said that the books have been audited every year and it is a public information.

"We have had revenue shortfalls and that is why new revenue measures are needed. We need action and more revenue generating measures, which we recommended to the OEK all throughout the past eight years. We did the best we could with what revenue we had. As a Senator, I am reintroducing many of the bills that I introduced as President, but we’re never acted on. After all, the Palauan people deserve results and not just rhetoric or promises," Remengesau said.

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

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