Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 29 June 2015

The Supreme Court will only hear the Parliament Speaker Pipite’s application for an appeal against the Court’s ruling last week [that he had illegally closed Parliament early] at 4 Vanuatu time this afternoon. It is possible this will be "in conference" rather than in open court, Justice Aru having already declared the illegality of the closing. So your one-man no-cost news agency, the Digest, has a little more time for further news of this and other related matters at this time.

Parliament is to sit tomorrow at 4 pm to hear the Opposition motion against PM Sato Kilman’s Government as Daily Post tells us today. Radio Vanuatu persisted in reporting the claims of the Kilman Government, that it has the support of 29 MPs. Opposition Leader Edward Natapei, in Vila Times, says the Government is trying to buy time in the seeking of an appeal against Justice Aru’s Supreme Court decision. "If the Government has the numbers they should let it [the motion] go and defeat it tomorrow in Parliament," he reasonably observes. Natapei also observes that the ousting of the Natuman-led government is clearly linked to the West Papua issue and the Kilman "neutral" stance as regards West Papua.

Businessman Tom Bayer is named in Vila Times today as the businessman faced with complicity charges in the allegations of bribery of MPs brought by the Public Prosecutor. His name was mentioned last week at the first hearing. Bayer is held on bail, but his lawyer, who had only received court documents two days earlier, will be absent until 14 July when the Preliminary Inquiry will now be discussed in the Magistrates’ Court. Vila Times gives further details of the way in which the sum of VT 35 million was obtained from Chinese business interests, and from the sale of the land owned by Marie Louise Carcasses in Rentabao. The Public Prosecutor states that Bayer’s banking operations were involved.