Calling for an end to a moratorium and firing of the new NDPB CEO
By: L.N. Reklai
August 10, 2016 (Koror) A public hearing conducted by House of Delegates with National Development Bank of Palau (NDBP) Board of Directors and CEO, turned immediately into a slamming session, when Speaker of House Sabino Anastacio and Delegate Jonathan Isechal, took immediate dislike to responses by the NDBP Board of Directors.
Speaker Sabino Anastacio went into offensive by immediately critiquing NDBP’s CEO choice of dress to the hearing, calling it an insult and recommending that the Board send her home.
HOD questioned the recent action taken by NDBP putting a moratorium on issuance of loans with public land leasehold as collateral and basing their policy on the proposed House bill 9-209-25S,HD1. “This is just a bill, not a law and you should not be able to make a policy based on something that is not yet a law,” argued Delegate Jonathan Isechal.
NDBP Board member Kyonori Tellames expressed that the decision to place a moratorium is simply to protect the bank. “This proposed bill, if it becomes law, will have a devastating impact on the bank because all loans secured by public leasehold will be in jeopardy,” stated Mr. Tellames. “We have a fiduciary duty by law to protect the bank’s interests,” he added.
Board member Jacky Alexander reported that they are not stopping people from applying for loans. “We only decided to put brakes in our process and wait and see what the outcome of the bill will be. We have about $1 million dollars in the pipeline that are secured by public land and that is why we decided to put brakes on and study the situation,” stated Board member Alexander.
Delegate Alexander Merep questioned if the bank had loan policies in place before with public leases as collaterals, especially in light of the recent return of lands that have displaced people. “Why are you now making a policy when you did not have one before regarding same public lands,” asked Merep.
“I don’t I know about previous bank policies but right now, and because of the impact of these recent cases of land returning to claimants, we are now taking steps to mitigate potential impacts to the bank and this policy is in line with that,” stressed Director Jacky Alexander.
The House of Delegate took offense to a letter that NDBP sent to Senate JGA Committee containing their responses to House Bill 9-209 and only cc copied House of Delegates, according to Delegate Swenny Ongidobel. “Shortly after that letter, the Board issued its moratorium,” added Ongidobel.
“You have a right to express yourselves but I tell you, you cannot challenge the House of Delegates,” charged Speaker Anastacio.
NDBP Chairman Marino Rechesengel explained that the letter was in response to Senate JGA Committee’s request for their input and that copies to other parties were for information purposes. “HOD can also request the bank for its comments on this bill,” added Chairman Rechesengel.
NDBP Chairman’s response enraged Delegate Isechal, who exploded in the middle of exchange. Delegate Isechal seemed insulted by the comment that HOD should solicit NDBP’s opinion.
NDBP Chairman Rechengesengel stated that perhaps their decision was a bit hasty and that they will look at it more but the decision was not prompted by the Senate or the House but by the simple language of the bill that could potentially impact the bank. Rechesengel further asserted that they have fiduciary duty to protect the bank’s interests.
Speaker Anastacio recommended that the Board meet and rescind the moratorium policy and remove the new bank president. [/restrict]