Fri. Sep 20th, 2019

PPLA issuance of lease questioned

A residential lease issued by Palau Public Land Authority (PPLA) to Ambassador Olai Uludong last March of 2018 is being questioned by Koror State legislators according to documents obtained by Island Times.

A lease of 389 square meter lot within a portion of Koror Elementary School campus in Ngerbeched was issued to Ambassador Uludong in March of 2018 at twenty-five cents per square meter for 50 years.  The rate is to escalate every ten years by 5% according to the copy of lease contract.

According to information obtained, the lot is owned by PPLA, acquired after the national government bought it out from a successful claimant.  According to PNC 35, PPLA becomes lawful owner of any land acquired by the national government.

In a phone interview with Minister Sinton Soalablai of the Ministry of Education, he said that he was informed by PPLA of its plans to lease that portion of the campus of Koror Elementary School.   “It is their jurisdiction to do what they will with the land, I just asked that it would not be leased for any purpose that would disrupt the school,” expressed Minister Soalablai.

Asked if the school had plans or need for the site, Minister Soalablai stated that the site was not being used by the school and that a former teacher of Koror Elementary School used it as garden.

In the documents obtained by Island Times, legal opinion contends that even if the land is owned by PPLA, in order to lease or sell, it must obtain the consent of the state where that land or lot is located and no such consent was acquired from Koror State and that the lease maybe in violation of 35 PNC.

Koror State Public Land Authority Director reported that no such consent has been requested of KSPLA and that this was not a matter before the KSPLA Board.  She did state that the lessee had requested for the small strip of land adjacent to the lot leased by PPLA in order to meet Koror State zoning requirement and that KSPLA Board have approved that request.

Currently, construction of Ambassador’s residence is nearly completed on the site in question. (L.N. Reklai)