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Palau’s ISP Ends Employment Contract

Tenure to End on June 19

The termination clause of Interim Special Prosecutor Melissa Simms’ employment contract has been triggered, putting an end to a short tenure at the Office of the Special Prosecutor, one of Palau’s most controversial offices.

“The Senate has vilified me, calling me incompetent and making other accusations, which was broadcast live over the radio to the Palauan public,” said Simms in her letter to Attorney General John Bradley on April 6.

Simms during the oversight hearing. Photo by Ongerung Kambes Kesolei

ISP Melssa Simms . Photo by Kambes Kesolei

Simms referred to the oversight hearing conducted on March 1 when the senate questioned her actions in the filing and subsequent dismissal of a criminal case logged against Minister of Justice and Vice President Antonio Bells.

Defending her actions despite staying virtually mum at the hearing, Simms told Bradley, “I stand by every action I took while in office, and if I had to repeat it, I would do everything the same way.”

Ending her employment contract, she will remain in position until June 19.

Sen. Mark Rudimch do agree with Simms that the Senate vilified her during the hearing.

"I wish Melissa Simms luck on her next endeavor after her short but explosive stint here in Palau, there is no denying that the Senate vilified her for the charges she filed and withdrew against the ROP’s Vice-President and Minister of Justice," he said in an email to Pacific Note.

Sen. Raynold Oilouch said he is a big supporter of the ISP office but believed that Simms did not perform her job well.

"She was not doing her job properly," Oilouch said its better for Simms to step down and let someone competent replace her.

He said the ISP or even the Special proescutor's Office is an important agency which serves an "important purpose,"

Delegate Jonathan Isechal said he is one of the proponent of the bill which created the ISP office but "Simms failed her duties."

Isechal said by stepping down from her post, "Simms made the right decision for her family and the republic."

However, the special proescutor nominee Steven Killelea did not garner enough votes from the Senate in this week's session.

In President Tommy Remenegsau's State of the Republic Address (SORA) Thursday, he urged the Senate to confirm his nominee to ensure that "government officials followed our laws and spend our public funds pursuant to our laws."

The special prosecution position has been empty since the resignation of Michael Copeland in 2010.

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