Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 23 December 2015

Even the news of the Conspiracy Preliminary Inquiry today is overshadowed by the extraordinary win by the Graon mo Jastis Pati in the Santo Malo provincial election last week. All media have carried it in various forms since last evening’s broadcast from Studio 5 North (back on the air again). The rapidly rising young and youth-oriented party won 5 seats – 2 on Malo and 3 on Santo – in the 18-seat new Council. The VP won 3 as did UMP. RMC won 2 seats. Each of the following parties won a single seat: VRP, ULF, IG, Hope and Presidential System. Nagriamel won none. The result represents a major coup for the Sanma United Front for Change, giving the grouping a simple majority in the Council. This is the grouping of GJP, VP, RMC and Hope which was attempting – and still is – to achieve the political (public and presidential) pre-requisite for progress – unity. Lots of parties with only one seat will quickly be forgotten.

In the Conspiracy Case concerning the purported pardons of Pipite, Acting President at the time, Jane Joshua in Daily Post offers a lucid and thorough account of what is at stake. Senior Magistrate Moses Peter heard Public Prosecutor (PP) Josiah Naigulevu detail the meetings held by the convicted in the Bribery Case, albeit before their sentencing, concerning pardons for all, including the Acting President himself, before the President’s return from overseas. These amounted to conspiracy to defeat the course of justice through the MPs’ meetings at the Ministry of Public Works and Mangoes restaurant. Lawyer-client privileges will be under Court scrutiny, Jane Joshua summed up, should Senior Magistrate Moses Peter authorize the matter to proceed to the Supreme Court. Lawyer John Less Napuati was particularly concerned with lawyer-client privilege and the confidentiality of some of the documents provided to the Public Prosecutor from lawyers now claiming immunity. Lawyers Robin Kapapa, Gregory Takau and Eric Molbaleh are granted immunity and are assisting the PP in his inquiries. Again apologies for the mistake in the last line relating to this story in yesterday’s Digest, albeit corrected 15 minutes later.

I am hoping this afternoon I will have completed the other stories, some now long overdue, which I feel this Digest service should bring to readers’ attention. Watch for a second edition.