Calls for all travel reports from other Senators to be made public
By: L.N. Reklai
July 22, 2017 (Koror, Palau) Senator Uduch Sengebau-Senior in a letter to Senate President Hokkons Baules’s demands that he corrects the misleading statements he made to Tia Belau Newspaper regarding her travels overseas during this Tenth Olbiil Era Kelulau.
Senator Senior also demanded that Senator Hokkons Baules provide all information on trips other Senators including himself have made on behalf of the Senate to Tia Belau. “Full and fair disclosure of the travels of all senators to the people of Palau would support your Accountability and Transparency as President of the Senate.”
In her letter, she said she is “compelled” to correct Senator Baules’s misleading statements in the July 21st issue of Tia Belau. Her letter contains comprehensive report on each of her travels including costs, sources of funds and travel authorizations for each trips on behalf of Senate.
Senator Senior asserted that all her prior travel authorizations were approved by Senator Baules without issue and that only after her opposition vote on the resolution to establish trade with People’s Republic of China was her travel authorization denied.
In her 10-page letter, she explained that her trips were mostly funded by outside sources and supplemented by funds from Youth Affairs, Social Welfare and Culture Committee which she chaired.
She stated that her travel to attend UH Hilo Spring Commencement was approved by Senator Hokkons during a meeting at Umi Restaurant. “You told me that I can accompany the President of the Republic of Palau to the commencement exercises.”
Senator Senior expressed her upset over Senator Baules statement which she said was “blatant attempt to suggest that public funds were spent so I could attend my son’s graduation.”
According to Senator Senior, she had already paid her ticket to attend her son’s graduation. “You knew my son was graduating and you requested me to go on behalf of the Senate to deliver the check with Speaker of House of Delegates and Delegates Saiske and Ongidobel.” Senator Baules had approved her travel authorization for per diem to represent the Senate.
Senator Uduch Senior attended 36th General Assembly of APIL with Senator Aric Nakamura on behalf of Senate, a travel also approved by Senate President Baules. Senator Uduch Senior was appointed by Senator Baules to represent Senate in the APIL.
Senior resigned from her position as Senate representative to APIL Board of Directors in the same letter. “Because I no longer support your leadership in the Senate, I am informing you that I am resigning from my appointment ….and will not be participating in the APIL Board meeting slated for December.”
Senator Senior demanded that Senator Baules correct the statements he made to Tia Belau implying that public funds were being used to fund her husband’s trip with her. “My husband did not use public funds to pay for his trip. You should want your constituents to know that you speak the truth and that any information you provided about your fellow senators is accurate and supported by documentation.”
In the same letter, Senior advised Senate President Hokkons Baules that she had requested all travel records of all other Senators from Joint Budget Office under the Open Government Act and that if information is not received within 10 days, she will seek legal remedies. [/restrict]