Vanuatu daily news digest | 20 December 2012Posted: December 20, 2012
The new Vanuatu Ombudsman, Kalkot Mataskelekele, has promised to investigate why his predecessor’s many reports were never acted on. As the Anti-Corruption Day event on 9 December learned, there has not yet been a successful prosecution of a leader named in any report from the Ombudsman’s Office. The new Ombudsman is an experienced lawyer and highly-respected leader who will be expected to deliver results. Mataskelekele will concern himself first with the Ombudsman Act, Radio Vanuatu News reported last night.
The seventeen unsuccessful candidates in Luganville constituency will have their electoral petition heard when the Supreme Court moves to Luganville to hear the matter, in coming days. Donald Restitune, speaking for all Luganville petitioners, expressed his confidence in the upcoming hearing. The result may affect the appointments of Speaker George Wells and Agriculture Minister Kalfau Moli. The Luganville petition is in addition to the Santo Rural electoral petition which will see a recount of the vote in that constituency.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade Ham Lini has instructed the Vanuatu Commodities Marketing Board (VCMB) to subsidise the copra price by vt8,000 per ton until the end of January 2013. The present world price for copra is the lowest it has been for a decade. The copra price is now vt28,000 per ton for the limited period. Minister Lini has also ordered payment of all outstanding grower subsidies by the end of this week.
A Chinese investor has been given fines totalling VT 3 million and a suspended prison sentence of 18 months for defrauding the Vanuatu Government. Li Zhi, owner of the Lin Bing chain of stores, knowingly and with intent to defraud the Government of duties and taxes, failed to declare goods to Customs.
Peace and order have reportedly returned to Lenakel and community leaders of the provincial centre, together with the Police, are planning a meeting to discuss law enforcement efforts after the inter-communal violence between west Tanna and south Tanna people.