KOROR, PALAU – On Thursday, August 19, 2021, Presiding Justice Kathleen M. Salii of the Trial Division of the Palau Supreme Court issued a decision finding former Angaur Governor Marvin Ngirutang in violation of probation. The Probation Office reported Mr. Ngirutang failed to make payments toward the $72,905.53 in fines owed to the State of Angaur. The fine was part of a plea agreement entered and agreed to by the Court on April 8, 2021, after lengthy negotiation, apparent sincere showing of remorse by the Defendant, and a showing of broad support for the Defendant from people within the governmental and private sectors.
The Court scheduled a revocation hearing on August 2, 2021, based upon the Probation Office’s reports verifying Defendant’s failure to make monthly restitution payments in the amount of $6,627.78. At the hearing, Defendant pleaded with the Court for more time to pay, alleging a change in income prevented him from fulfilling his sentence. The Court continued the hearing to August 13, 2021, affording Defendant additional time to provide the Court information regarding his financial circumstances. At the August 13, 2021, hearing, the OSP provided evidence showing Mr. Ngirutang’s ability to pay and requested the Court find Defendant willfully violated his probation by intentionally failing to make payments and sentence him to imprisonment. Defendant continued to allege his inability to pay, providing information regarding his attempts to obtain payments from certain rental agreements, arguing against revocation of his probation, and requesting modification of the probation terms granting him more time to pay and allowance for him to change his community service hours from the Ministry of State to the Ministry of Justice.
The Probation Office filed its status report on August 19, 2021, showing Defendant made several misrepresentations to the Court during the VOP hearing. The Court concluded “Defendant violated conditions of his probation by failing to disclose to the Court that he had, in fact, received $24,600.00 in payment just two days prior [to the hearing],” and “the evidence shows that Defendant has the ability to make monthly payments towards restitution.” Consequently, the Court executed 30 days of the suspended 1-year sentence, ordering Mr. Ngirutang to report to the Koror Jail on August 19, 2021, by 6 pm to serve his term of imprisonment. The Court further ordered Mr. Ngirutang make payments towards the outstanding balance of the $72, 905.53 in restitution by dates certain and in amounts certain, allowing the Defendant to complete his remaining hours of community service with the Office of the Vice President/Ministry of Justice after his term of imprisonment is completed.
After all is said and done, the OSP believes the fine imposed in CR 09-092 was appropriate, just, and fair, and wishes to collect the debt on behalf of the Republic as it is doing in other cases of unpaid fines and restitution. In our continuing effort to be transparent, we will be posting the pleadings of both parties to our website as we believe the points contained in the pleadings and ultimate rulings of the Court on those pleadings will have an impact on the citizens of the Republic. Once set, we will publish any upcoming hearing date.
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