Vanuatu daily news digest | 14 February 2013

The Vanuatu Prime Minister, Sato Kilman, and Australian Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, captured headlines during the visit of the latter to Australian assisted undertakings in the capital yesterday. The highest profile project is the Port Vila Urban Development Project. This will be involved with drainage, sewerage and footpaths and roadways. The media will continue to give details.

The Leader of the Opposition yesterday spoke of the unity of the big parties presently all in Opposition. The Vanuaaku Pati, UMP and the Graon mo Jastis Pati remain united, said Natapei on Radio Vanuatu.

The Leader of the Opposition, Edward Natapei, Tuesday on Radio Vanuatu News listed main Opposition corruption complaints against Government. These began with the Government connection with Vietnamese businessman Anh Quan Saken. Then came the appointment of a politician, Moana Carcasses Kalosil, to a new post as parliamentary secretary to the PM, and the issue of a DG starting a personal business to deal with visa applications when this should only be managed by Government. All these matters are concerned with corruption, said Natapei, adding mis-use of government vehicles by politicians. And he also added "the issue which comes out most clearly is the director general who has created his own company to administer immigration issues. Using government service to benefit himself is effectively the definition of corruption," said Natapei. "Straight after the election, the PM promised to fight corruption. This promise has not been fulfilled. The Prime Minister has not done what he promised. Corruption remains rife," observed Natapei.

Jeff Joel Patunvanu, the government public relations officer, tried to brush Natapei criticism of the Kilman government aside on a basis of Natapei being prime minister first of all, before Kilman. "That corruption can take place is owing to the fact that former governments have appointed people who are today behaving corruptly," incorrectly reasoned Patunvanu, as if Kilman had no choice concerning appointments, nor his Public Service Commission, over performance or discipline, despite his (Kilman’s) years in the top post.

The Vanuatu Financial Services Commission (VFSC) says it has cleared its position as regards an order issued by Minister Toara Daniel of Internal Affairs concerning Chinese investors with permanent residency status in Vanuatu. A VFSC manager (of insolvency, legal, enforcement and compliance), John Stephens, says the main companies behind the set-up of the international company registry in Hong Kong have made Vanuatu the third most requested country around the world to offer country of residence status to business people in Hong Kong. "However, all companies in the set-up operate according to the law," he said. Government has made a lot of money out of the business since it was set up in 2011, he added.

The Minister of Agriculture, Kalfau Moil, has re-launched the Vanuatu Chamber of Agriculkture. The interim chairman was announced as Gyorgy Carlo, long time director of the Maison du Vanuatu kava monopoly to New Caledonia. A new executive will be elected at their first meeting.