Widespread nepotism alleged at VNPF

Nepotism must be rife within the VNPF, Daily Post claims this morning. Although why exactly this is significant when the same problem afflicts every public sector body in Vanuatu is not explained. However, seemingly well-documented allegations concerning management of the “people’s only retirement fund” come too alarmingly close to the Prime Minister Sato Kilman’s party and family. We don’t want another riot, and this an issue touching everyone, so it requires the Minister concerned to answer the complaints in public—and quickly. Get your copy of the Daily Post for all the details, too numerous to mention here. The coverage is a further reminder to the well-connected that even though some in government sometimes imagine their term in office—the ‘closed season’—lasts for ever, four years are up fairly quickly.

What is just as unclear is the source of these allegations, and how this person (or persons) stand to benefit if they are successful in ousting the VNPF Executives that are the subject of these allegations. “Follow the money” is a basic principle of investigative journalism, but it doesn’t appear to have been applied at all by those covering this case. Cui bono?

And while we are concerned with finance… If the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission (VFSC) is really wanting investment from anywhere, surely they could build a better website. Just what is on their website? Today’s date, yes, but all the news of 3 or 11 March last year 2011, 17 months ago. We have I-gov and/or E-gov (and have we paid Felix Nguyen his Vt 27 million yet?) and we can’t even pull an out-of-date page off the internet. VIPA is another Government body with this problem – there are are two websites listed in Google’s search listing (which we won’t list here, for obvious reasons), and one of them is full of malware links that should be avoided. Anyone heard of online reputation management in Vanuatu?

It is important to note that Chief Poilapa of Mele has received the blessing of the Efate Island Court and is seeking to put all the dispute over who is paramount chief of Imere behind him, them and us. So necessary. iI has gone on for far too long. The court decided the matter on 3 August. The reconciliation is on 24-26 August. Chief Poilapa wants everyone to “come together in view of the enormous work ahead of us all.” And that’s a good way for us to approach the election, too. Radio Vanuatu News reported the end of the dispute and it is hoped the end of the rao-rao [dispute].

Mr Api Toara has lodged a complaint with the Fraud Unit concerning the way in which Mr Jenneck Patunvanu is claiming payment for the work done on the ships MV Southern Star and Northern Star. Mr Toara, in Daily Post, says Patunvanu was just a member of the team which went to China to check the work on the ships using Toara’s designs, when the task was completed.

VBTC Radio News carries some interesting points from the USP Election forum on Tuesday night. Deputy Leader of the Opposition Edward Natapei sees lessons we can learn from PNG following his recent ’eminent person’ participation in the electoral process in that country, especially more and more stringent requirements of political parties. GJP’s founder and leader Ralph Regenvanu repeats his disappointment that certain town fringe dwellers (Erakor Half Road, Stella Mare, Freswin and Prima, for example) are largely wrongly registered. However, Principal Electoral Officer Lawson Samuel stresses that you can change the details of your voter registration to vote in town if you are wrongly registered.

No news yet on the conviction of Robert Agius scheduled to be handed down in Sydney yesterday. Be assured, we are keeping a watching brief on this story.