Police ready to question Ministers found aboard Phocea

VBTC Radio News continued thin again this morning, the theft of a tourist’s cash from a hotel room being the lead story.

Daily Post has the police inquiry into the Phocea affair ready to question Ministers who went on board the vessel as soon as the parliamentary sitting is over. There have previously been court cases over the constitutional provision that MPs cannot be arrested or prosecuted for any offence during a session of Parliament, and a precedent has been set. The story in Daily Post says “the police need to prove with physical evidence the two Ministers entered the boat and allegedly gave the owner and supposedly millionaire Pascal Anh Quan Saken his diplomatic passport. The police remain tight-lipped as regards drugs being found on board (and a substance like opium was discovered), gun running and money laundering.

Radio New Zealand International (RNZI) says State Prosecutors are protesting the lenience of fines imposed on the Phocea illegal entrants and Faviola Brugger Dadis for obstructing police in their work. RNZI reports State Prosecutors saying they have launched an appeal and are seeking orders to prevent those crew who are still here from leaving the country. The captain, Richard Malaise, believed to be Swedish, is due to appear in court on Thursday.

The new Australian High Commissioner is announced. He is Mr Jeremy Bruer. He replaces Mr Jeffrey Roach. He has held other posts in the Pacific and has also been head of mission in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

The Chairman of the Vanuatu National Provident Fund gives the position of the Board of the VNPF as regards amendments proposed in their legislation, which has been much criticised. He sees the new Act as a “re-design” and says “As part of the re-design of the Act and the Investment Policy Guidelines, far more effective controls have been specified to minimise the risk of fraudulent external fund manager selection.” It will be interesting to have this further spelled out, and to learn what fraudulent external fund manager selection has taken place. Presumably this will happen when the Bill is debated in Parliament.

Parliament now meets from Monday and must complete its work next week as its life ends on 2 September.