Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

DOJ obtains Extradition of Phillip from the US

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): October 1, 2010 - The FSM National Department of Justice (DOJ) successfully obtained the extradition of Likiak Phillip from the US, to Kosrae, FSM, on September 9, 2010. The extradition was performed as authorized by the international "Agreement on Extradition, Mutual Assistance in Law Enforcement Matters and Penal Sanctions Concluded Pursuant to Section 175 of the Amended Compact of Free Association" (Extradition Agreement), which was entered into between the governments of the FSM, the Marshall Islands and the US.

Lorrie Johnson-Asher, Assistant Attorney General of the DOJ, explained that Phillip is accused of stealing $31,413, collected from the sale of clams in Kosrae over a two year period between April, 2005 and May 2007, while Phillip was Manager for the National Aquaculture Center in Kosrae. Phillip fled to the US in March 2008.

The DOJ filed criminal charges against Phillip on September 3, 2008, and began investigation procedures to locate him. The Extradition Agreement enabled the FSM Department of Foreign Affairs to work with the US Embassy in FSM, on the one hand, and the Micronesian Transnational Crime Unit to work with the US Federal Investigation Bureau (FBI), on the other, to use all available legal avenues to find Phillip.

Johnson-Asher, through some investigative work of her own beginning in 2009, found out that Phillip was actually residing in Seattle, Washington. She alerted the late Chief of Police Pius Chotailug, who in turn contacted the FBI of her findings and FBI agents arrested Phillip during the first week of June 2010. Phillip spent approximately one month in jail in Seattle, until his court hearing on July 28, 2010. On that day, the presiding judge, found "enough evidence for Phillip to be extradited and tried for the alleged offenses," and approved Phillip's extradition to the FSM.

Pole Atanraoi, Chief of Litigation of DOJ, was able to negotiate directly with Leigh Cox, US Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the US Department of Justice, who agreed to fly Phillip to Hawaii in order to minimize the cost of the extradition for the FSM Government.

Two Police officers from the FSM National Police, Takasi Reim and Winspur Raymond, flew to Hawaii on September 6, 2010, to meet Phillip; they returned with him to Kosrae, on September 9, 2010. Phillip was put in jail immediately upon arrival in Kosrae; his initial hearing was held the following day, during which the presiding judge issued an "Order of Release with Conditions." This means that Phillip was released from jail, but has to meet the following conditions: report to the court every two weeks, inform the court of any changes in residence, and cannot apply for a new passport or travel out of Kosrae.

Following this fortuitous extradition, the DOJ is now waiting for Phillip's trial date to be set.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356