Associate Justice Kathleen Salii on June 22 denied a request by five senators to reconsider ruling backing the government’s non-disclosure of agreement terms related to the airport expansion.
In a six-page order Judge Salii ruled that the Court did not err in its earlier judgment finding that Minister of Public Infrastructure, Industries, and Commerce (MPIIC) Charles Obichang complied with the Open Government Act (OGA) because the documents requested by Sens. Camsek Chin, Regis Akitaya, Rukebai Inabo, J. Uduch Senior and Mason Whipps were provided to the senators eventually.
“The Court finds no manifest error of law or newly discovered evidence warranting amendment or alteration of its May 3 judgment. Accordingly, the plaintiffs’ motion is denied, “Salii stated in her order.
The five senators challenged the court’s earlier judgment, which held that Obichang did not violate the Open Government Act as he had eventually made the questioned documents available even outside of the required 10-day period.
In their motion for reconsideration, the senators asked the court to reverse its earlier ruling citing that the request for the disclosure of documents was first made in 2017 and another request was made in January 2018.
However, Salii’s June 22 ruling stated that the 2017 request now being used by the plaintiffs in their motion for reconsideration is a “disingenuous attempt to amend their pleadings after an adverse judgment.
The court also did not take into consideration the plaintiffs’ request that documents produced by the defendant on Jan. 25, 2018 be evaluated against previous versions of the airport documents presented to Congress in May 2017.
With this, Minister Obichang informed the senators in a June 26 letter that other documents requested such as the preparatory survey copies involving the airport expansion has been provided to the Senate and House leaders, “so that you and any other elected members of the Olbiil Era Kelulau (OEK) may review them as you desire.” (Bernadette H. Carreon)