The people of Ngerkebesang hamlet of Koror State won their case against Ibedul Yutaka Gibbons and Santos Ikluk, claiming back the payment of $1.850 million from the lease rental of Roiskebesang.
On May 10, 2022, the court issued an order granting Ngerkebesang Hamlet’s motion for summary judgment against Santos Ikluk and the Estate of Ibedul Yutaka Gibbons represented by Bilung Gloria Salii, of their claim for entire rental proceeds of $1,850,000 from the leases of Roiskebesang.
The case stemmed from land lease contracts executed by Ikluk Santos as chief Espangel and Ibedul Yutaka Gibbons as chief Obak ra Iwong of Ngerkebesang to Alan Seid and Jackson Henry for $1.8 million in 2015 Seid and Henry then assigned the lease to Palau Palm Springs Investment Development Ltd.
In 2019, Espangel George Kebekol, Rechebei Olikong Katosang, Rengiil ra Cheluil Francisco Gibbons and Rengiil ra Okreng Elbuchel Sadang executed a commercial lease with Palm Springs Inc. for Roiskebesang. The total lease rental was $4 million and the $1.850 million payment to Santos Ikluk and Ibedul Yutaka Gibbons was included in the $4 million.
According to bank records, the $1.85 was paid out to Ikluk and Ibedul with each receiving $925,000. Records also show that the monies were deposited into each of their personal accounts and that Ikluk had withdrawn $89,448.00 from the funds in his accounts.
The court ruled that both Ikluk and Ibedul executed the agreement as trustees/representatives of the people of Ngerkebesang and that the money belongs to the people of Ngerkebesang. The court further states that the money from the lease was a rental payment received on the behalf of the people of Ngerkebesang.
Defendants had argued that money paid, was paid for them not to take action against or sue with regards to the lease. The court denied the argument, saying that the lease contract stated that this was a rental payment. Furthermore, the court stated, “Because Ikluk and Ibedul served in the role of trustees with respect to Roiskebesang, they do not have any personal or independent right to sue with regard to the property, so they have nothing to forbear on their own behalf. They have no authority to act with respect to Roiskebesang beyond their status as trustees on behalf of the beneficiaries….Moneys gained by agreeing not to sue, successfully suing, or reaching a settlement regarding the lease of Roiskebesang can solely be received by Ikluk and Ibedul as representatives of the Ngerkebesang Hamlet.”
The final judgment states that Ngerkebesang Hamlet is entitled to entire rental proceeds of $1.85 million and that defendants Santos Ikluk and Ibedul (Estate of Ibedul Yutaka Gibbons) are liable to Ngerkebesang Hamlet and are required to return the entire sum to Ngerkebesang Hamlet.