Vanuatu Daily News Digest | Pipite pardons 14 convicted FridayPosted: October 11, 2015
The ABC in Australia reports the Vanuatu acting president in a bid to pardon himself and 13 others convicted of bribery.
On Friday the court found parliamentary speaker Mr Pipite, deputy prime minister Moana Carcasses and 12 other MPs guilty of bribery charges.
The MPs were facing a maximum of 10 years in jail and were due to be sentenced on October 22.
Under Vanuatu law, Mr Pipete as speaker of parliament also acts as president when the latter is travelling abroad, and has the power to pardon anyone, including himself.
Tony Wilson, editor of the Vanuatu Independent newspaper, said he confirmed the pardons through a government MP.
"Sometime, yesterday afternoon, the acting president of the nation, Marcellino Pipite, who is actually the speaker of the house of the parliament, pardoned himself and the other 13 MPs," he told the ABC.
He said the move was made possible after Mr Pipite assumed the top job when president Baldwin Lonsdale left the country for a visit to Samoa.
Opposition MP, Ralph Regenvanu, said nothing concrete had happened and that police and the prosecution were "working on it" — in regards to stopping the process.
It is understood there was a government meeting on Saturday night where MPs met with prime minister Sato Kilman to decide how to keep the government intact.
The ABC has been told that a press conference will be held in the speaker’s office this afternoon.