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Questions surround controversial venture

By Bernadette Carreon KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, May 31, 2010) – Traditional leaders have asked President Johnson Toribiong to put his foot down regarding the controversial UK International Holdings Limited.

In a letter to the president, the members of the council of chiefs expressed "deep and utmost concern about the grave allegations made by certain individuals.

The leaders stated that the president discharge Morris Davidson as Palau’s honorary Consul to Malaysia; stop the false advertisement in the internet that makes it appear that the country is supporting the company; to prohibit Minister Jackson Ngiraingas of Public Infrastructure, Industries and Commerce from using his post to support Davidson and his firm; and direct the Office of the Attorney General to initiate a probe on Ngiraingas’ possible violation of the Code of Ethics.

"The support of your administration to UKIHL is a serious matter as it undermines the rule of law to which we have long aspired to maintain as the bedrock of our nation and our institutions and, negates and defies the clear and transparent government your administration has espoused for and which we all proudly advocate," the letter stated.

The leaders said that the internet advertisement contains statements that made it appear that UKIHL has various licenses from Palau to undertake the wide range of businesses that are part of Nautilus City and Solaris City Project.

It added that the advertisement also made it appear that UKIHL has the full backing of the Toribiong administration through Ngiraingas.

The advertisement showed photos of the president that " may suggest your tacit approval of the advertisement and link you to what are perceived by many as inappropriate representations."

"We cannot emphasize more the concern we have for the suggested link between the honor and prestige of your office and the president of our country and these questionable activities by UIKHL, Davidson and others involved or with them," the letter stated.

The leaders also stated that Ngiraingas committed a violation of code of ethics when throwing its support to the firm which appears to be trying to dupe several investors.

UK Holdings is the company involved in the planned ambitious Nautilus Project in Peleliu State.

UK International Holdings Limited is the Malaysian firm that is pushing the multi-million project.

Former president Tommy Remengesau Jr. did not approve of the project.

The company wanted to bring world class development to Palau, including five star hotel accommodations, golf, controlled gaming, marina hub, residential and condominium properties for long-term visa holders, entertainment, restaurants, landscaped gardens and a shopping mall.

Davidson said the project will bring in $2 billion in investments to Palau.

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