Public Infrastructure, Commerce and Industry Minister Charles Obichang asserts that he complied with the Open Government Act on the Airport Improvement and Expansion Project.

“We followed the Open Government Act which states that certain information relating to negotiations with other countries or entities can be withheld,” stated Obichang.

Obichang stressed that all copies of contracts and documents he had signed were provided to both the House of Delegates and Senate and that the only information not yet released are those pertaining to the ongoing financial package negotiations.

These documents, he said, will be provided to OEK for their approval, once the negotiations have been finalized.

Obichang insisted that the process has been transparent since May 2015 when the discussion commenced with the government of Japan until January of this year when copies of signed contracts were provided to both houses of OEK.

“When we provided OEK with this proposal for airport improvement, OEK approved the resolution tasking us to negotiate for the airport improvement project.  After the negotiation, we provided them with draft agreements. They provided their input which led to some of the changes in the drafts.  When those revised drafts were provided to them, they passed a law allowing us to sign the agreements. They have been well-informed of this project from the beginning,” Obichang added.

Obichang said that since this issue has become a legal case, he will await the court’s decision.

“Let the court decide the merits of the case since it has been brought to the court. Let’s not confuse the public further,” he added.

The case was filed against Minister Charles Obichang by Senators Uduch Sengebau-Senior, Senator Regis Akitaya, Senator Rukebai Inabo, Senator Mason Whipps and Senator Camsek Chin who alleged that he violated the Open Government Act by failing to provide documents on the airport improvement project that was requested in accordance with Open Government Act. (L.N. Reklai/Island Times Editor)