Cui may face sanctions, including possible incarceration


Former Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC chair Cui Lijie faces sanctions—including up to possible incarceration—for allegedly lying during a deposition back in February.

Last week, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona Manglona said she would take into advisement the plaintiffs’ motion to impose sanctions on Cui, including incarceration, in the case involving seven construction workers.

Manglona scheduled a status conference on the matter for Nov. 5 at 8:30am. She noted that if she issues a written order prior to the status conference, the status conference will be vacated.

One of the lawyers representing the seven construction workers, Aaron Halegua, called for sanctions against Cui, including incarceration, until she complies with the court’s previous contempt order because Cui allegedly violated the court’s previous contempt order and provided false testimony.

In a video clip of Cui’s deposition back in February that was entered as evidence during last week’s hearing, Cui was allegedly caught denying she had a cellphone on her.

When asked about having a cellphone on her, Cui was shown on the video stating that she did not bring her cellphone. Later, a cellphone was heard ringing from Cui’s purse. She then asked to be excused for a restroom break. Upon her return she was asked if the cell phone that rang was hers, but she denied owning the cell phone claiming that it belonged to her interpreter, Howyo Chi.

Cui is a third-party witness in the lawsuit of seven construction workers against IPI and its former contractor and subcontractor, MCC International and Gold Mantis Construction Decoration, both of which have already settled with the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs, who have accused IPI and its subcontractors of labor violations and human trafficking, include Tianming Wang, Dong Han, Yongjun Meng, Liangcai Sun, Youli Wang, Qingchun Xu, and Duxin Yan. They are represented by Halegua and Bruce Berline.

Back in May, Manglona entered a default judgment in favor of the seven workers in the amount of $5,430,595.58 plus post-judgment interest and attorneys’ fees against IPI.

To date, the plaintiffs claim the judgment remains unsatisfied in the amount of $5,430,595.58, plus post-judgment interest and attorneys’ fees meaning IPI has yet to make a single payment to the plaintiffs.

On Aug. 26, 2021, Manglona found Cui in contempt of court anew for failing to comply with a previous preservation order regarding Electronically Stored Information or ESI that she created or used, including emails, and ESI data sent or received by others on her behalf.

Because the $5.4-million default judgment in favor of the plaintiffs remained unsatisfied, all the ESI data held by the former IPI chair remain relevant to the proceedings.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at
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