Govt strengthens Financial Intelligence Unit; Vila mayor rebuts Opposition claims

10000 vatu note

Vanuatu is not yet being blacklisted as alleged by the Vanuatu Financial Centre, yesterday, the Office of the Prime Minister states. Vanuatu is in the process of improving its compliance processes where money laundering and proceeds of corruption are concerned. This puts us on a grey list of jurisdictions being ever more closely watched by the OECD. The government is strongly emphasizing that financial stakeholders must abide by legislation and policy directions and work with government to meet international requirements. The Vanuatu Finance Centre is seen as stubborn in its refusal to comply in various ways with legal requirements. The government Financial Intelligence Unit is being increased in strength to help compliance.

Some of the detained former MPs have been transferred to the low risk communal facility. Those with health problems are to stay at the former women’s prison at Colardeau. Names are not being revealed as to which detainee is where, Justice Minister Warsal told Daily Post, it being a “sensitive issue.”

The Prime Minister’s Office is also relocating to the Colardeau area, but not to be near the detainees in poor health. It is relocating to the Sky Garden as a temporary measure whilst the PMO undergoes a major Chinese-funded repair. Sky Garden is now owned by the Vanuatu Institute of Technology, which will benefit financially from renting out their recently acquired hospitality premises to the PM’s and allied departments.

Port Vila Mayor Ulrich Sumtoh has personally denied as “wrong and misleading” the statements concerning municipal allowance paying on which the Leader of the Opposition has had a lot to say this week. Opposition Leader Kalsakau claimed Opposition councillors were not being paid. “Wrong,” says the Mayor.

This weekend’s Vanuatu Times tells us not to be too sanguine about the quick return of absentee airlines. The excellent continuing work on the runway is, however, noted. Of more concern in Vanuatu Times this weekend is the plight of the Ambrym victims of the fires which raged for a month on the west of the island.