Vanuatu daily news digest | 04 March 2013Posted: March 4, 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.