Good governance called into question by police appointment, greylisting of financial system

Vanuatu flag. Photo copyright © 2016 Vanuatu Daily Digest. All rights reserved

Two big issues for Vanuatu lead today’s news and need quick resolution to restore confidence in the current administration. There are legal and political sides to both controversies.

The first major outstanding issue is that of the appointment of a Police Commissioner. A previous Police Service Commission decided that Chief Inspector Albert Nalpini was the best man for the job, but then the Commissioner in charge was declared illegal. The Commission’s recommendation for Nalpini’s appointment to the top police job was never enacted; the Head of State never received their recommendations. Nalpini is now asserting his rights in the matter in court. (Daily Post)

Governments have over decades changed the top policemen in Vanuatu: so political has been the posting that we have even seen police commissioners become prime minister. And there have been mutinies and alleged mutinies. It is just as well all the issues are being brought out in this Supreme Court hearing behind which is the bigger question of whether we can manage our security ourselves or whether we need to appoint outsiders to head the police force again, especially those who may have much wider experience.

The company we keep: a screengrab from the FATF's website

The company we keep: a screengrab from the FATF’s website

Vanuatu’s presence on the international Finance Action Taskforce (FATF)’s money-laundering and terrorism financing grey list heads the radio news today. ‘How grey is our list?’ is the question, not just for the broadcasters but also for the people of Vanuatu and foreign investors. MP Johnny Koanapo, parliamentary secretary for such issues, told Radio Vanuatu midday news that Vanuatu could lose its ‘light grey’ category easily and even find itself again on the black list. The Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) which assesses countries’ anti-money-laundering regulations, dirty money and counter-terrorism financing met recently in Sydney and Koanapo was present. Koanapo saw the meeting as “very, very critical for the economy of Vanuatu because of the Vanuatu Finance Centre.” It appeared to Koanapo that it would be easy for Vanuatu to find itself blacklisted again.

The Prime Minister had directed our national coordinating committee to meet with all those concerned with our offshore rating and to discuss our issues there. New legislation is soon to go before Parliament. It is to be hoped this quickly restore our financial credibility internationally.

The Apma Financial Investment Centre (AFIC), a financial outfit which has raised many questions in the past is being audited, says today’s Daily Post. The audit is being carried out by the Cooperatives Department. AFIC Bank’s founder and spokesman is ready to say they pay the highest interest rate “in the world” and boasts of the four ships it claims to have built.

Finally, thank you to those of you who responded to yesterday’s poll about the fonts on Vanuatu Digest. 77% of you are happy with the choice, 12% of you don’t know if you like them or not while only 6% say you don’t like the fonts. That’s a resounding vote of approval for the change; thanks also to those of you who responded with constructive comments. Any time you’d like to give us feedback, we’d love to hear from you! Email us at info@vanuatudigest.com.

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