By: L.N. Reklai
May 11, 2017 (Koror, Palau) Director Leon Remengesau of the Bureau of Marine Resource pled not guilty to six counts of criminal charges filed against him by the Office of Special Prosecutor during an arraignment hearing on May 11. [restrict]
Six counts of criminal conducts include Assault in the Second Degree, Terroristic Threatening in the First Degree, Misconduct in Public Office, Bribery of Witness, and two counts of Intimidating a Witness.
According to reports cited in an Affidavit of Probable Cause, on April 18, 2017, Director Leon Remengesau of the Bureau of Marine Resource came upon employees of BMR, Sorens Meyar, Luciano Aderiano, Divan Ongrung, Umang Demei and Jacob Timarong and picked up an iron chair and hit Mr. Jacob Timarong with it. The report also stated that he picked a metal shaft and threatened to spear Timarong.
BMR employee Aderiano reported in an affidavit to drinking beers with co-workers Meyar and Ongrung on that date and upon Director Remengesau’s approach, fled the area and did not see anything. Furthermore in his report, he said other employees Umang Demei and Jacob Timarong who were with them were not drinking beers.
Meyar reported leaving when Director approached and saw him picked up an iron chair but turned the corner and didn’t see what he did with it but heard a sound like metal object hitting hard rubber.
Mr. Umang Demei reported that Meyar, Ongrung and Aderiano fled the location except for him and Timarong. According to his affidavit, Director Remengesau approached, picked up an iron chair and hit Mr. Timarong with it. Timarong raised his arm to block the blow and the chair hit his arm. Mr. Remengesau then picked up the metal shaft and was about to spear Timarong when Timarong told him not to do that. According to Umang’s report, Director Remengesau then said,”Kemiu ko melim a rrom er tiang?” translated to “Are you drinking alcohol here?”He then picked up string hedge trimmer and left the scene.
Mr. Timarong, the alleged victim, reported to Office of the Special Prosecutor that on April 18, 2017, while sitting with other co-workers, Director Remengesau complained why he was sitting there drinking beer and not working and picked up an iron chair to hit him in the face. According to his report, if he had not blocked the chair with his arm, it would have hit his face and head.
In addition, Timarong and Demei were threatened with beating by Director Remengesau if they reported anything about the incident to the police. Timarong reported that he told him, “alsekum ke mo oltutakl, e ke mo medengelii a rengum.”
On April 24, 2017, another employee Mr. Carl Haruo was instructed by Minister Umiich Sengebau to take Mr. Timarong to hospital. According Haruo, that’s when he noticed Mr. Timarong’s swollen arm. After hospital treatment, Mr. Timarong was taken to police station to have his statement taken.
After the incident, other employees also reported mistreatment from Director, including being cursed at and intimidated.
Charlie Matsutaro , another BMR employee came forward in an interview with OSP and also complained of similar treatment from Director Remengesau, stating that he was “very unpredictable and tends to intimidate other people” and said he also feared for his safety at his workplace.
The Office of Special Prosecutor also reported that it received a call from Minister Sengebau that four of the employees of BMR were on their way to his office to seek assistance in obtaining Restraining Order against Director Leon Remengesau.
Director Remengesau refuted the charges stating that nothing happened and that Mr. Timarong ran with a green machine and fell and hurt his arm. He said that he had asked other people at work and they corroborate his statements.
Moreover, he stated that the accusations were results of him catching his subordinated drinking alcohol during working hours. He stated that these were just false accusations. He pled not guilty to all charges. [/restrict]