The newly sworn in Special Prosecutor April Dawn Cripps re-echoed her willingness to commit to a five-year term in an interview with the media during the sidelines of the swearing in ceremony at the President’s Satellite Office in Meyuns yesterday, October 8.
Cripps told the media that she will begin the work by visiting all the states to get the people familiar with the office and also to personally see what the office can do and can’t do.
The state of Ngchesar will be the first state that she is going to visit, Cripps shared.
According to Cripps, the SP’s main focus is to work on cases of corruption in the government including white-collar crimes.
“Our focus is really to do what they asked us to do…but we need to start that by explaining to the [people] what we do,” Cripps said.
Cripps also shared the plan to put up a website for the Special Prosecution Office that will serve as a medium for people to see the law and inquire about how it works and what the SP can do for them.
When asked about previous debates surrounding jurisdictions over certain cases that should be and should not be handled by both the AG and the SP, Cripps said that she is aware of these cases that were tried in the past, explaining further that these may have been caused by misunderstanding.
“There [were] a few cases that were brought that involved the same people and some of those cases were handed to us because the AG thought that it was better for us to handle them,” Cripps said, emphasizing that although the SP is focused on dealing with corruption in the government, they are willing to work with the AG’s office on cases that it finds to have conflict with.
The Senate previously affirmed the appointment of Cripps on August 2 after she was nominated by President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. for the position.
In the past years, Palau’s government had been beset by the problems surrounding early resignations of its former Special Prosecutors, prompting it to be strict with its recruitment process for the position.
Cripps’ confirmation as the Special Prosecutor came months after the position had been vacant following the resignation of former Special Prosecutor Steven Killelea.
Cripps has international legal experience including over four years of work in the Micronesian region. She previously worked as Assistant Attorney General in the Federated States of Micronesia from 2000 to 2002 and had also served as Justice Secretary in the FSM from 2012 to 2015.
Cripps also worked as Senior Attorney for the Florida Supreme Court, a Deputy General Counsel for Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and an Assistant General Counsel for Florida’s Department of Health, Prosecution Services Unit. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)