Confirms transfer land to Shallum Etpison as valid
The Trial Court in December 2020, reversed its decision on the Ngerteluang Clan case and confirmed that the transfer of land from the descendants of Mekesong and her siblings of the Ngerteluang Clan to Shallum Etpison is valid and that the descendants Mekesong and her siblings are the strong members of the Ngerteluang Clan of Ngeruluobel, Airai.
The case arose when descendants of the Mekesong and her siblings of the Ngerteluang Clan deeded a clan property to Shallum Etpison in May of 2016 and were sued by Charles Obichang and Elong Nakamura who claimed to be the stronger members of the Ngerteluang Clan through Esebar Lingeage and whose consent were not given for the transfer of the property to Shallum Etpison.
The Trial Court in 2019 issued a ruling in favor Obichang and Nakamura saying that they were stronger members of the clan through a woman named Ibul, the biological daughter of a woman named Meong, who was a strong female member of the Ngerteluang Clan.
The case was appealed and the Trial Court’s decision was reversed by Appellate Court and sent back to for reconsideration. The Appellate Court remanded the lower court to consider if the Appellees (Obichang and Takada) have met the burden of proof that they were strong senior members of the Ngerteluang clan.
Appellate Court held that Meong was not the biological mother of Ibul and that she adopted Ibul through her husband Ngemedok from Ngersuul. Based on hearing and evidence provided during the appeal, Ibul’s mother was a woman named Ongklungel from Ngersuul who died when Ibul was very young. Ibul was adopted by Meong and Ngemedok.
Court concluded that Ibul was not biological offspring of Meong, a senior member of Ngerteluang Clan and as she was not a blood relative, under the traditional hierarchy was a terruaol (people taken up by a member of a lineage with no blood relationship.) By this definition, Obichang and Takada were not strong members of the Ngerteluang Clan and therefore their consent was not required for any transfer of clan property.
Although the Appellate Court and the Trial Court did not address this after the appeal, under the same definition and category, the Obichang’s claim to the title of Iyechaderteluang and Carolyn Takada’s claim to Ebiledil of Ngerteluang clan through Ibul are weakened as they are no longer the senior members of the Ngerteluang Clan of Ngeruluobel, Airai.