THE Imperial Pacific International Holdings board of directors on June 4 announced that Cui Li Jie has resigned as executive director of the company, “and ceased to be the chairperson of the board, the chairperson of the executive committee of the board and the authorized representative of the company for the purpose of rules governing the listing of Securities on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited.”

The board said Cui's resignation is "due to her personal time constraint."

"Ms. Cui has confirmed that she had no disagreement with the board and there was no matter in relation to her resignation that needs to be brought to the attention of the shareholders of the company or the stock exchange," the board said in a statement, adding that it would like to express its sincere gratitude to Cui for her valuable contributions to the group during her tenure of office.

The board also announced that Xu Zhongxiang has been named executive director and authorized representative of the company.

The board’s independent non-executive directors are Robert James Woolsey, Ng Hoi Yue, Lee Kwok Leung and Ip Mei Shun.

In a statement, IPI chief executive officer Ray Yumul said: "I was informed about the chairlady’s decision on Friday and I’d like to wish her all the best. Her reason to step down is as stated in Imperial Pacific International Holdings Limited's announcement dated June 4, 2021 and filed with the Hong Kong Exchange. I have been notified that Mr. Xu Zhongxiang has been appointed as authorized representative. At this time, nothing has changed at the IPI CNMI LLC level.”

Court order

Despite her resignation as IPI chair, Cui Li Jie still needs to comply with the federal court order that directs her to provide cell phone data and submit an affidavit detailing her use of Electronically Stored Information or ESI in the lawsuit of seven construction workers over labor abuse and human trafficking allegations.

The plaintiffs' lawyer, Aaron Halegua, said, “Ms. Cui's resignation does not change or modify her obligation to comply with the court's orders.”

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

On May 24, 2021, Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona entered a $5.9 million default judgment in favor of the plaintiffs against IPI.

The plaintiffs, through Halegua, recently requested the federal court to impose a $10,000 daily sanction on Cui for not complying with a court order directing her to file a sworn statement that addresses all aspects of her creation and use of ESI data.

Halegua also requested the court to find Cui in contempt of court for failing to comply with court order, and to issue an order to show cause against her.

In response, Cui told the court that she was poorly represented in the court proceedings by her lawyer, Juan T. Lizama.

She asked the court for “more time to find a competent lawyer.”

On Tuesday, Lizama filed a motion to withdraw as the former IPI chair’s attorney.

“It is a good and sufficient cause for withdrawal when a client expresses that she no longer wished to continue to be represented by her attorney,” he said, adding that “Ms. Cui has not paid any legal fees for work that I have performed in this matter.”

Withdrawal should be allowed for Cui’s failure to pay legal fees, Lizama said.

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A bachelor of arts in journalism graduate, he started his career as a police beat reporter. Loves to cook. Eats death threats for breakfast.

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Bryan Manabat studied criminal justice at Northern Marianas College. He covers the community, tourism, business, police and court beats.

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