Two witnesses speak from the grave in land case

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A lawsuit against the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. in Superior Court entered its fifth day of trial last Thursday with the presentation of the deposition of two key witnesses who have passed on earlier this year.

Last Thursday, Conrad M. Sablan, through his lawyer, Brien Sers Nicholas, called upon witnesses Jesus Takai, a former CUC surveyor, and Ramon Guerrero, former CUC director, to the stand to testify. However, since the two have already died, their testimonies were heard by deposition.

Deposition means taking the testimony of a witness outside of the court. It is used to gather information as part of the discovery process and, in limited circumstances, may be used at trial.

Sablan sued CUC back in 2015; the trial commenced last week.

Sablan is suing CUC and the CNMI government for allegedly putting up a water tank and fences on his land without compensating him.

According to Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph Camacho, the trial will continue in September.

Camacho said the court also visited last Tuesday the land in Rafugao that is involved in the legal dispute.

The Office of the Attorney General, on behalf of CUC, objected to the site visit back in 2018. According to Saipan Tribune archives, CUC and the government objected, arguing that it is uncertain what property or whether any property is relevant to the case.

Sablan said that he found out in 2013 that CUC had built the water tank, referred to as the Maui IV Water Tank, on his property. The tank was built in March 1992.

Sablan further discovered that CUC also built wire fences that prevent him from being able to access his other property in the area.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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