Vanuatu daily news digest | 29 December 2012Posted: December 29, 2012
Prime Minister satisfied Vanuatu no longer has legal basis to detain Phocea, is the headline on the front of today’s Daily Post. Prime Minister Sato Kilman has written to “Mr Saken, Phocea, Port Vila” to advise that he is authorising the immediate release of the vessel following advice from the office of the Attorney General. The advice and the PM’s “authorisation” come despite allegations of forgery and fraud against the self-proclaimed owner of Phocea. However, the head of Ports and Harbours, Mr Morris Kaloran, refuses to release the vessel to anyone until legal ownership is proven. Soon after the yacht’s illegal entry last July, forged papers were discovered on board, showing that several months later Phocea would be registered on a Vanuatu international registry. Local lawyer John Less Napuati is suing the vessel ‘in rem’ as his signature was forged on these papers. Phocea should remain in Vanuatu until his case is heard. Government suspended further investigation into the yacht’s self-styled owner.
The tropical depression we reported yesterday is now Tropical Cyclone Freda. TC Freda is still projected to pass to the south of New Caledonia, but as the image above shows, Vanuatu is still within TC Freda’s potential path. A cyclone warning has been issued by Solomon Islands Meteorological Office for the area to the north of Vanuatu. Vanuatu’s Meteorological Service says only that TC Freda “lies near Solomon Islands and [is] moving southwest towards the Coral Sea”, though the possibility of a cyclone within Vanuatu’s area is 60-100% between Sunday and New Year’s Day.
Auditor General John Path will present his report on the Vanuatu National Provident Fund next Monday. He is required to present it to Finance Minister, Charlot Salwai, and could give no details in advance of his handover.