Justice Fatiaki: “Public Prosecutions Office is completely and utterly incompetent”Posted: September 7, 2012
The fraud case against Minister Steven Kalsakau and his brother Yohan Kalsakau may be dismissed today because of failures on the part of the Prosecution, says Daily Post. Justice Daniel Fatiaki declared the performance of Prosecution personnel in the matter to be “intolerable”. They failed to appear for the case, as for other matters in the last two weeks. The prosecuting officer on another case knew nothing of it but was obliged to stay, or there would have been no-one from the Prosecution in the court. And no files on the matter were in court until an hour-and-a-half after the case was scheduled to begin. At one point, it was suggested the Prosecution and the defendants’ lawyer make alternative arrangements for the case. Justice Fatiaki said “The Public Prosecutions Office is completely and utterly incompetent”. If everyone is not in court today the matter will have to be dismissed for want of prosecution.
Also in the Daily Post, Marie-Noelle Patterson, chair of Transparency Vanuatu, has a cogent article appealing for responsible voting in the October general election. She refers to the corruption and misconduct of leaders as well as violence, sexual misconduct, theft of public money and a multiplicity of other offences of which leaders have been found guilty.
Daily Post also reports an appalling street attack on well-known Freswota Malakula chief Ambong Thompson, at night in his own area, which has resulted in his losing an eye. Thompson was flown to Santo for surgical treatment by the eye specialist there, but the eye had to be removed, so bad was the damage. Thompson, Radio Vanuatu veteran and Cultural Centre sound archivist, was punched by two men, one wearing the ring which damaged Thompson’s eye.
An interesting letter in the Daily Post points out that while the Government accuses the media of one-sided reporting, Government fails to deliver on its promises to media personnel. Last week, Ministers Moana Carcasses and Steven Kalsakau and the DG of Lands Joe Ligo complained about the reporting of the Takara geothermal matter, saying their point of view as laid out in the Bill (which never made it to Parliament), was not heard. They promised the reporter a copy of the Bill. She repeatedly reminds them of the promise, but it never arrives.
The Vanua’aku Pati Congress has been delayed until November, reports Daily Post. Normally candidates are chosen at the congress prior to an election. With the closure of Parliament, it becomes difficult for any party to hold an election or there may be charges of treating or bribery, the party says, so the ‘blessing’ of leader Edward Natapei’s candidates will just take place in party rooms. Natapei to have won the leadership contest mounted by Harry Iauko. The party needs to explain this issue in much greater detail.
Both VBTC News and Daily Post report the Ministry of Internal Affairs receiving an official complaint against the Port Vila Municipal Council Town Clerk Johnny Botleng alleging his sale of a council asset without following the required procedures. Botleng is accused of selling a grader for the price of Vt 1,000,000. He was, however, stopped by the council. Botleng is now under suspension. Should he not be under detention?
The Rotary Club of New Zealand has agreed to renovate Ambae’s Lolowai Hospital while discussion has been proceeding on the Government’s intention to relocate the main Penama province hospital to Abwatuntora, Pentecost. Radley Tari, manager of the hospital, says Rotary has already agreed to fund the work and materials costing Vt 17 million. The Ministry of Health has said the main Penama hospital is to be at Abwatuntora, where there is no hospital at all yet, despite the France-funded work to upgrade Melsisi Hospital and NZ Rotary’s promise for Lolowai Hospital.
Government yesterday began the groundbreaking work for the start of the fibre optic submarine cable which will link Vanuatu and Fiji and provide high speed internet access to the world, Radio Vanuatu News reports. Laying of the cable will take until the end of next year. What the ‘ground-breakling’ actually comprised was not confided to us.