8 Mar 2012

Lawsuit filed against Palau's President and Vice President

8:30 am on 8 March 2012

A lawsuit has been filed against Palau's President Johnson Toribiong and his vice president Kerai Mariur.

The suit, by five Senators is over the use of funds from the US Government for the resettlement of five former Guantanamo detainees from the Chinese Muslim Uighur minority.

The suit alleges President Toribiong took personal charge of the funds totalling 500,000 US dollars, and that the money was ordered only to be disbursed in agreement with the President's authorization.

The lawsuit contends that approximately 250,000 of the funds were disbursed in large lump sum payments to Toribiong Enterprises and to the President's sister-in-law, Sandy Toribiong, for housing, renovation, and furniture for the Uighurs' residences.

These payments were allegedly made without any competitive bidding and contrary to Palau's procurement laws.

The lawsuit claims the President's conduct was an ethical violation in that his immediate family members directly financially benefited from these disbursements.