Minister of Finance Faces Reckless Driving Charges
Minister of Finance Elbuchel Sadang has been summoned by the Supreme Court to answer to a single criminal charge related to a car accident where he allegedly damaged a government vehicle.
Special Prosecutor Steven Killelea filed Criminal Case No. 16-095 against Minister Sadang on June 16th charging him with one count of reckless driving, a misdemeanor crime with a jail sentence of up to 30 days or fine of no more than $100, for reportedly wrecking a government vehicle.
According to court records, around March or April this year a report was provided to the Special Prosecutor relating to an investigation of traffic accident that Sadang was allegedly involved in on February 26th.
Detective Lieutenant Dolyn Tell, criminal investigator for the Special Prosecutor's Office stated in the affidavit of probable cause that the investigation revealed a Nissan Rogue SUV bearing a Palau government plate that was assigned to the Minister was involved in the accident. The vehicle allegedly sustained heavy front end damage from crashing into a concrete barrier near the mooring dock in front of Peleliu Club in Medalaii, Koror.
In the affidavit, it couldn't be determined from witnesses' statements whether Sadang was intoxicated at the time of the incident.
On April 13, Sadang wrote a letter to the Attorney General’s Office admitting to have driven the vehicle at the time of the accident. He reportedly admitted to suffering from an “evolving physical fatigue” court documents state.
Minister Sadang allegedly agreed to take responsibility for damages sustained including any repair or replacement costs of the vehicle.
The cost of replacement, according to Det. Lt. Tell, is in the area of $20,000.
The minister is scheduled to appear before Associate Justice Kathleen Salii for his first appearance on Thursday, June 23rd at 9:00 am.