Melekeok State Public Land Authority (MSPLA) is sued by Palau National Public Land Authority (PPLA) for losing its authority to own and administer public lands within the State geographical boundaries.

PPLA seeks to declare MSPLA to be in violation 35 PNC Section 215 and its Regulations for failing to provide records of its meetings and for delegating its authority to own, maintain and administer public lands to Melekeok Investment & Finance Authority (MIFA), now Melekeok Economic Development & Investment Authority (MEDIA).

It also seeks to declare sections of Melekeok State Laws No. 8-12 and No. 9-01 as invalid and to nullify any contract not approved by majority MSPLA Board as null and void.

PPLA had requested for copies of Board meeting agendas and minutes as well as copies of land leases and land use agreements that have been executed.  MSPLA informed PPLA that MSPLA had no office and no staff and that lease agreements were in custody of MEDIA.

PPLA asserts that MSPLA was created in compliance with Title 35, Chapter 2 of the Palau National Code and as such MSPLA is required to comply with provisions of PPLA’s regulations affecting State Public Lands.

Under the law and regulations, PPLA alleges that MSPLA has the authority to own, maintain and administer public lands.  Under the regulations, it also must provide copies of its Board minutes and agendas as well as any land lease agreement or use right it issues to PPLA.

According to information filed in the case, Melekeok State Legislature adopted Melekeok State Public Law 9-01 creating MEDIA (Melekeok Economic Development & Investment Authority) as successor to previous MIFA, and transferred the authority to own, manage and/or administer public lands from MSPLA to MEDIA.  The law also states that revenues generated by administration and management of state public lands goes to MEDIA, to be implemented by the Board of MEDIA.

PPLA alleges that by allowing MIFA or now MEDIA, to manage, administer and maintain public lands, to negotiate, execute and accept revenues from the administration of public lands, MSPLA has violated Title 35 Section 215 of the Palau National Code.

The civil suit seeks an order to remit income derived from administration and management of Melekeok State lands to be remitted to Melekeok State treasury.

MSPLA had requested and been granted extension of time to file their response the suit by June 2, 2020.