Vanuatu daily news digest | 04 March 2013

There was no additional bulletin over the weekend. Phocea reporting has been brought together here.

Aspects of the Phocea farce bring it closer to the courts now. Thi Tam Goiset Saken’s lawyer tells VBTC she is suing The Independent in the Vanuatu courts for publishing a document allegedly going a long way to proving Goiset received US$180.000 from Anh Quan Saken over the sale of the VMA. Yes, the VMA was closed a long time ago, so Goiset’s claim that she didn’t sell the VMA will be upheld. She insists on Saken being brought to Vanuatu to answer allegations to be specified.

In The Independent itself, Goiset claims she has no dealings with the other Saken, Anh Quan Saken. However, that one advised from his office in Phuket on 1 February 2013, The Independent reports, that they knew each other and had embarked on financial dealings. "It is Goiset who further defrauded me by selling me the defunct maritime registry of Vanuatu under which Phocea was registered," Saken is quoted as saying. Saken does not make it clear if by the "registry" he means the actual register or the security documentation used by the VMA. The Jean Goisets (monsieur et madame) are professionals as regards security documentation and were once contracted to produce an electoral registry for Vanuatu which was never delivered.

Captain Guy Benard, for his part, has told Radio Vanuatu News he is suing the Vanuatu Government over allegations made against him in the Daily Post newspaper on Friday 22 February. Benard’s Phocea temporary registration document, the paper claimed, was "fake, false, null and void." Benard is outraged that the Vanuatu minister responsible, Finance Minister Minister Charlot Salwai, did not contact him (Benard), before stating that the registry was closed. Benard confirms he signed the latest temporary registration papers and claims the Technical Advisory Committee still exists, even though the Minister denies this. It was earlier suggested that Benard’s partner in an earlier shipping venture (the ill-fated Kimbe), MP Robert Bohn, was hoping to enable the Phocea to sail for Thailand where it could qualify for registration on his, Bohn’s, Vanuatu Maritime Services Limited (VMSL) registry. "The mandate of VMSL does not cover the registration of yachts," said the Minister when addressing Benard’s "fake, false, null and void"registration.

Benard is no stranger to registrations coming un-stuck. A company of which he was once a director (Trident Holdings Ltd) soon after he resigned bought a vessel, ‘Serenity,’ in Brisbane which travelled here to fish. It arrived here on a temporary Benard / Vanuatu registration as was intended for Phocea to get to Thailand, but ‘Serenity’ was refused Vanuatu registration because it had no valid safety certificate. Benard claimed in the media he was awarded VT 40 million in the Appeals Court, Daily Post reported yesterday. However, his application for a Constitutional case in the matter has been returned to the Supreme Court and is still to be heard.

Of course the Vanuatu Government has played its own role in the Phocea saga, and it continues to anger the general public that the Government has not explained its participation in any way whatsoever. Furthermore, senior civil and uniformed servants of government who have attempted to assist have been cruelly suspended or terminated.

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4 Comments on “Vanuatu daily news digest | 04 March 2013”

  1. chris gargiulo says:

    I agree with most of the comments published about this unbelievable Phocéa story, I agree about being suspicious about Bénard, Ahn Quan and others. However, having followed this story from the very beginning, I have serious doubts about Mrs Goiset involvement. I can’t believe that this women who won nearly 80 % of her court case, including a major one against a bank, could be involved in ”selling the VMA”…something does not fit

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  2. Bob — what is the common thread between all of these individuals? They are all self-serving sociopaths, in my opinion.

    We would be better off without all of them.

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  3. Jenny says:

    This is really a muddy case for Lawyers. My full observation is this is real corruption. Vanuatu is such a small place with a small population where it can be used and taken advantage of. I am afraid the population at large have benefited from this whole saga. Many of us may not agree but really many people have been part of all these Phocea and Saken saga. Public at large we don’t know who is telling the truth. It looks like this whole saga is all about greedness in money, sex, woman and power. Let us all stand united in our faith in God that someone from the Government will reveal the truth to the nation.

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    • Jenny, I wouldn’t hold my breath. The “Government” is not going magically make all of this go away — the Government of Vanuatu created this whole mess, and they are in it up to their necks. And the people who voted for Kilman, Carlot etc. are just as responsible for this mess.

      Tumas man oli talem “gavman i mas mekem…” lo evri problem lo Vanuatu. Be oli foget se oli bin vot from ol politisen, so actually olgeta vota oli gat paoa blo mekem wanem nao olgeta wantem mekem.

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