Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 14 October 2015Posted: October 14, 2015
It is regretted that the Digest did not appear yesterday.
Yesterday we learned that further infamy was achieved by the Acting Head of State Pipite, Saturday, in suspending Ombudsman Mataskelekele. Pipite claimed gross mis-conduct in Mataskelekele’s handling of the Preliminary Investigation in the bribery matter. Pipite made the suspension less than 24 hours before the return of the substantive President, Fr Baldwin Lonsdale, in his, Pipite’s, last full day as Acting President, as he did with the pardons of his 13 colleague MPs, along with himself.
Santo Pipite supporters, Post reports today, blame Pipite’s lawyers for his controversial decision to pardon the 14 MPs. Such advisers, they say, must be held responsible for their wrongful advice.
Worse is to come … Opposition – yes, Opposition – MPs have reported sums of one million vatu being placed into their personal bank accounts around a week ago. GJP Opposition MP Ralph Regenvanu seriously questions the Parliament accounting officer on how such amounts could be made available as allegedly TC Pam refunds. MP Regenvanu is Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee. National Radio VBTC and Daily Post will undoubtedly have reports tomorrow which the Digest will carry.
The Opposition sounds united in calling for calm, describing Pipite’s actions as utterly irresponsible. The Opposition says it understands the "tension and ire of the Port Vila public because of Pipite’s folly last weekend. While it would also appear that Mr Pipite was attempting a veiled threat during his public address to justify his action when he abused the President’s powers, the Opposition questions his judgement" and said "Pipite and the others involved will not get away with it. One man’s period of irrationality could not and should not be accepted as a fait accompli for anyone."
The Opposition again registered its disappointment at Prime Minister Sato Kilman standing by and watching while members of his cabinet go about what they are best known for: corruption, saying his continued silence in the face of calamity brought about by El Nino-induced drought, and the nation’s brush with anarchy, demonstrates his incapability in running national affairs any longer."