The trial court decision this week declared the Edaruchei clan of Ngerdelolk, Peleliu as the owner of Ngercheu island (aka Carp Island) and that the 10 million lease contract executed by representatives of Edaruchei clan of Ngerkeyukl is null and void.
The contest for the island of Ngercheu between two Edaruchei clans of Peleliu, Ngerkeyuk and Ngerdelolk has been resolved in favor of the Edaruchei of Ngerdelolk.
In the court’s denial of the Ngerdelolk party’s motion for summary judgment, the court said that the Edaruchei clan of Ngerdelolk had to prove that Rubasech Fritz who filed the claim on behalf of the Edaruchei clan in 1958 was a member of the Edaruchei clan of Ngerdelolk. In the same denial for summary judgment, the court said that the Edaruchei clan of Ngerkeyukl had to prove that Rubasech Fritz was an authorized representative of Edaruchei of Ngerkeyukl when he filed the claim for Ngercheu.
In its opinion, after the trial, the court said that the Edaruchei clan of Ngerdelokl proved through witnesses and documents that Rubasech Fritz was a member of the Edaruchei Clan of Ngerdelokl and that sometime in the late ‘70s he became Idesiar, the chief of Edaruchei clan of Ngerdelolk. The court said it was convinced by the testimonies of the witnesses and evidence provided during the trial showing that Rubasech Fritz was indeed a member of the Ngerdelolk clan.
The court also said that the Edaruchei Clan of Ngerkeyukl does exist, but they were not able to prove that Rubasech Fritz was authorized to represent the Edaruchei clan of Ngerkeyukl in his claim for Ngercheu. They also claimed that Fritz was not a member of Edaruchei of Ngerkeyukl but that he was asked to represent the Edaruchei Clan of Ngerkeyukl to file a claim on their behalf due to his knowledge of the English language was not proven and his children and grandchildren attested that he did not speak English. The court said they failed to show proof that he was appointed as an agent or authorized representative as he was not a member of the clan.
The opinion states that as a matter of law, the Trust Territory Office of Land Management specified that a “Land Trustee” be appointed to file for returns of land and claims for use of lands. Since no trustee was appointed to file a claim for Ngercheu island, “it stands to reason that the person who pursued the claim, Rubasech Fritz, was authorized by clan to do so.” Edaruchei clan of Ngerdelolk claimed that Fritz was a member of the clan who later assumed the title of Idesiar of the Edaruchei clan of Ngerdelolk.
Finally, the court said that since the Edaruchei clan of Ngerkeyukl is not the owner of Ngercheu, the lease contract its representative executed to lease Ngercheu is void and invalid.
It also dismissed counterclaims by Edaruchei clan of Ngerkeyukl against Uchelmekediu Itaru Kishigawa and Carp Corporation.
The court ordered a new Certificate of Title to the full name of the landowner, Edaruchei Clan of Ngerdelolk, but to be held pending an appeal.
It also denied the Edaruchei of Ngerdelolk’s requests for payment of their attorney’s fees and costs and also denied ejection of members of Edaruchei clan of Ngerkeyukl from Ngercheu until all other related cases are resolved.