Senate panel investigates Masang’s potential conflict
The Senate Committee on Public Utilities, Communications and Housing Development is investigating Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC) Chairman and Board member Sam Masang for Code of Ethics violation by allegedly facilitating business relationship between a company he owns and PPUC.
Sen. Rukebai Inabo, chair of the committee stated in her March 9 letter to Masang that he is also under probe for failing to respond to the inquiries of the Senate.
Masang is also requested to submit documents to the committee until March 19.
“Chairman Masang, I must once again remind you that you are the one currently under investigation,” Inabo said.
Inabo demanded that Masang and PPUC submit all invoices, payments, bank transfers, check copies, receipts, and contracts to his company.
The senator also stated in her letter that the exchanges between her and Masang, “ has accomplished nothing but wasted taxpayers money, and has cause widespread public uproar exemplifying your complete disregard for the public duties your office entails, and for your disrespect for the people we serve.”
Inabo said Masang has clearly violated the law, compromising his ability to represent the Palauan people.
Masang has been accused of self-enrichment by the Senate for acquiring a PPUC contract for his company Palau Telecoms while he serves as the public utilities chairman.
The PPUC chair also enraged the Senate for his failure to attend public hearings and refusal to address customers’ complaints.
However, Masang in earlier letters said the Palau Telecoms transaction with PPUC was lawful and went through proper procedure.
Masang instead turned the tables on Inabo stating that she should return PPUC money she “illegally” obtained when she used her housing allowance to pay for the mortgage of her house at the time she was serving as PPUC’s CEO.
He further ask Senator Inabo to resign threatening a lawsuit regarding the alleged misuse of PPUC funds.
Inabo and Masang continued to respond to each other through heated letter exchanges and Facebook posts.
Several Palauans on Palau Facebook forums have expressed dismay over the continued word-war between Inabo and Masang. (Bernadette H. Carreon)