Pipite tries to deflect Snoopys scandal by directing Education DG to deny that money has run out

Today, the caretaker Minister of Education Marcellino Pipite (in court next Tuesday on other matters relating to deception) asks DG of Education Jesse Dick to deny what he said yesterday. The DG of Education is now expected to say there is enough money to meet payroll expenses and those expenses required under the Vanuatu Education Road Map. Readers should be very wary of news stories and letters in the paper which do not give the writer’s name.

The letter in today’s Daily Post attacking Jesse Dick for daring to utter the truth bears the hallmarks of Richard Kaltongga’s attempt to deflect attention from the gross misconduct of the Minister of Education and the Council of Ministers in the Snoopys scandal.

Daily Post and Radio Vanuatu News have to provide more and more space to Government to “clarify” controversies which are already painfully clear. Yesterday, the DG of Education was quite transparent in his statement that the Ministry had “fully exhausted available funds in its operational budget” for this year. This means the Ministry has no more funds to run Education. There isn’t any money left.

In exactly the same way, we should be be suspicious of claims that “Kaluat clarifies Kilman and Abel’s electoral issues”. Acting Principal Electoral officer Lionel Kaluat is quite clear — Kaluat has not said that that caretaker PM Sato Kilman has paid the rent money he owes to Government. No. Only that Kilman doesn’t owe any VAT. Nobody, however, is accusing him of not paying VAT, or hospital fees or departure taxes. The outstanding invoices are all for lease rent —around Vt 13 million worth. What the Electoral Commission should demand to see is a receipt showing that the Vt 13 million in rent has been paid by Kilman. The public needs to see this too. Otherwise, there is no proof that Kilman’s candidacy for the October 30 election is valid.

As regards David Abel’s application for candidacy, there is allegedly a Warrant of Imprisonment dated last month still current, says the Principal Electoral Officer, and David Abel has received a suspended sentence of imprisonment. Convicted criminals cannot contest elections. Abel also claims to have land judgements which justify his Vete Association’s claims to areas of Port Vila. He sees Vete’s claims to parts of the capital as at least as strong as those of PM Kilman to Lakatoro.

And the Lands Ministry’s all-out theft of public land for its most corrupt officials goes unpunished. No warrants of arrest or even disciplinary action there. Transparency International Vanuatu sees the Luganville land lease rip-offs as “a total breach of trust and public duty”. And TIV, in today’s Daily Post, also points out how the Government’s public image, its integrity, is diminished by such a scheme.

A former president of Australia’s National Institute of Accountants, Lynette Liles has been sentenced to four years and 11 months in jail in Australia under Project Wickenby, following money laundering offences in Vanuatu. Justice Monika Schmidt of the New South Wales Supreme Court said Liles’ offending was a “repeated, deliberate, calculating and systematic fraud on Australian taxpayers” amounting to AUD5 million, equivalent to Vt 475,000,000.

The Australian Government is able to prosecute those who defraud it, so why can’t Vanuatu’s Government?


4 Comments on “Pipite tries to deflect Snoopys scandal by directing Education DG to deny that money has run out”

  1. lakesiwi says:

    What is our ombudsman doing…???? There was never a public report published based on the investigations into the malpractices by our leaders.

    The only one whom i can think of who publishes such public reports was Mme Marie-Noelle F Paterson. Since then there weren’t any…


    • The Ombudsman’s office is a toothless tiger. The Ombudsman’s reports to December 2009 are actually available on the PACLII website – the URL is http://www.paclii.org/vu/ombudsman/. Nothing has been published there for 2 years and ten months. The National Library and the Parliamentary Library may have copies of more recent reports, plus of course the Ombudsman’s office itself is required to supply copies to the public.


  2. b.j. Skane says:

    Correction to the last item in this blog.
    AAP’s report, reprinted in Daily Post today, of Lynette Liles’ sentencing for tax fraud says she was given FOUR YEARS and eleven months not just eleven months. The report says the Court heard she “advised clients who engaged in tax-evasion conspiracies involving monies sent to Vanuatu that saved her clients millions of dollars in tax liabilities”.


    • Thanks for spotting that, B.J. The Australian newspaper’s report from yesterday even says “Justice Schmidt set a total sentence of eight years and three months but ordered Liles be released after four years and 11 months after taking into account her guilty plea, assistance to police and health”.