Minority board members call for resignation of Chairman Decherong citing illegal act

Trouble and controversies continue to beset Palau’s Public Utilities Corporation as three members of the Board yesterday accuse current Chairman and Acting CEO Greg Decherong of openly committing illegal act of smoking marijuana during the recently concluded high profile regional conference held here in Palau.

In addition to the copy of the Board members letter received by Island Times yesterday and a previous letter from an anonymous source, both alleged that during the Pacific Power Association Conference held here in August, on a visit to Peleliu with members of regional power utilities, students, representatives of donor agencies and financial institutions, Chairman and Acting CEO Greg Decherong was observed lighting a marijuana, smoking it and making offers to other CEOs and “boasting about the presence of illegal drug, recommending the use of it.”

The documents included a photo of Chairman Decherong on the boat supposedly smoking the said marijuana openly with over 20 guests including Pacific island CEOs, employees of PPUC and students from PCC.

“We find your action not only irresponsible and repugnant, but it is downright illegal, morally decadent and totally unacceptable, considering you are a public official appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate,” accused Masang and Telechalb.

The Board members further accuse Decherong of violating PPUC’s anti-drug policy and “betraying” PPUC and “people whom we are appointed to serve.”

The Board members, former chairman Sam Masang and Telechalb Merep, call on Mr. Decherong to resign from the PPUC Board, saying it is “imperative”.  It will be difficult to enforce anti-drug policies of PPUC’s on over 330 employees  if Chairman Decherong refuse to resign, cited the Board members.

According to a source within PPUC, the issue was brought up at the PPUC Board meeting and Chairman Decherong reported that one of the guests had inquired about Peleliu’s reputation for having the best marijuana and that he had asked if any of the local guys on the boat had a marijuana to show and one of the guys on the boat did have one and provided it.

Mr. Decherong could not be reached for comments and is reported to have left island this week escorting his wife for a medical emergency.

Copies of the letter from PPUC Board members Director Roman Bedor, Director Sam Masang and Director Telechalb Merep were provided all of Palau’s national leadership as well as other PPUC Board members, Reagan Belechel, Eden Ridep and Brian Melairei.

Marijuana is classified as Substance I drug. Trafficking of this substance is punishable by maximum of eight years in prison, a fine of not more than   $5,000, or both (unless it less than an ounce and if the substance is  just given away, then it is punished like possession. Any person found in possession of 2oz is fined $500 for first offenses, and $1,000 for second offense. (L.N. Reklai)