The Executive Director of the Palau Public Lands Authority (PPLA) is facing criminal charges of forgery and cheating for allegedly persuading a South Korean national  into giving him money in exchange for control over a piece of land in Meyuns.

The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) filed charges against Jason Kesolei and based on the press release from the OSP, that in 2013, the defendant convinced the Korean national to give him $20,000 for a lease of a land in Meyuns, Koror. [restrict]

However, Kesolei had no right to dispose of the property and was able to dupe the national by presenting him two forged documents on Koror State Lands Authority (KSPLA) letterhead that purportedly indicated that that he has received a land lease from KSPLA.

The press release further added that the documents were not released by KSPLA nor the lot number mentioned in the forged documents existed.

According to the affidavit executed by the OSP criminal investigator Helenda Oimei, on September 9, 2016, the OSP received a report from Koror Sate Public Lands Authority (KSPLA) concerning a certain Mr. Jeong Yun Sik, a Korean national, who wants to develop a land which he believed he has acquired through bid for a lease of property made possible through the defendant’s help.

The affidavit stated that Mr. Yun Sik provided documentation to substantiate the claim that he had paid money to secure a lease for the property in Meyuns.

The affidavit also stated that Kesolei when questioned about the incident, denied having forged the documents. He also denied that the signatures on the forged documents are his.

Kesolei however admitted that he did receive cash from Mr. Sik but only to help him facilitate the discussion with the owner of the property he wanted to lease.

Kesolei said the money was intended for the owner of the property and not for him. However, he claimed that when the supposed owner told him that they are not interested in selling the property, he returned the $20,000 cash to Mr. Sik.

Kesolei was arraigned March 21, 2017and released on his own recognizance.

The OSP stressed in its press release “all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.