Prime Minister Sato Kilman has not made any statement concerning Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot or Pascal Anh Quan Saken through the mainstream media in Vanuatu yet. This comes about when their partnership is the most discussed topic in the media and nakamals of the capital. Opposition Leader Edward Natapei, in the Daily Post on Friday, insisted the PM terminate Carlot. Natapei sees Carlot’s involvement with Saken as detrimental to Vanuatu’s international credibility.
VBTC News this weekend carried a complaint by Immigration officers over the establishment of a new company, Pacific Migration Consultants, by the DG of Internal Affairs, George Bogiri. The Principal Immigration Officer, François Batick said the new company will be able to earn over Vt 200 million annually.
The President of the Vanuatu Vietnamese Association, Dinh Van Than, says Pascal Anh Quan Saken was born in Vietnam and lived there until he was 11 years old. He then moved to France for 15 years and became a French citizen, he says in this weekend’s Daily Post. “It was a lie that Pascal Saken went to school in Port Vila as I would have known him. Instead Pascal Saken went on to live in Bangkok to this day”, Than told Daily Post. Dinh Van Than was born in Vanuatu in 1944 and has lived here ever since. Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot had told freelance journalist Hilaire Bule, when the Phocea was boarded in July last year, how he came to know Pascal Anh Quan. The Minister replied “While you were still playing in your jungle [on Pentecost], I was going to school with him in town.” Than says Saken did not attend any school, in town, and it is a lie to say he did.
Pascal Anh Quan Saken sees himself as the deputy head of the Vanuatu European Union embassy in Brussels. He claims he still holds a valid Vanuatu diplomatic passport, even though the Prime Minister’s Office cancelled it and advised the Commissioner of Police that the passport was cancelled last year. Radio Vanuatu News yesterday morning carried a report based on an interview Pascal Anh Quan gave Radio New Zealand International on Friday. Saken claims to have been the victim of bad publicity while in Papua New Guinea and says that reports are all untrue and just aimed at damaging his reputation. He is still working hard for Vanuatu, he says. He is hoping to work more with Europe and the United States to build the structure of his country, Vanuatu. Saken says he cannot come to Vanuatu because his sailing boat Phocea is still being held by the Government on suspicion of carrying arms or drugs. He says he has heard all the allegations against him. While in PNG, he could not meet the US Ambassador as planned, but hopes to go back to PNG next month. He has also heard his passport was revoked by PM Kilman last September, but he believes the passport he holds is still valid.
The Citizenship Commission has announced that adult “adoption” does not entitle the adoptee to Vanuatu citizenship. The Citizenship Commission will continue to expect new citizen applicants to have resided in Vanuatu for more than ten years. Read the rest of this entry »
The Vanuatu National Provident Fund board has terminated General Manager Anniva Tarilongi, who has been under suspension on full pay for the last five months. Six personnel recruited during Tarilongi’s term were also terminated after similar periods of suspension. The announcement of the terminations was made on Radio Vanuatu news Wednesday night. It was also reported Wednesday by Radio New Zealand International that Tarilongi was first employed by Telecom Vanuatu where she also recruited close friends and paid them high salaries.
The US Embassy in Papua New Guinea has dismissed newspaper reports in PNG that US Ambassador Walter North met with Vanuatu’s Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot, reports RNZI. Carlot and the Vanuatu Government provided conflicting accounts as to why Carlot was in PNG, said the Embassy. However, Embassy spokesman Regis Prevot advised the media that no meeting took place.
The Vanuatu Police Force has announced the Australian Federal Police will resume operations in Vanuatu following negotiations between the Vanuatu Government and Australia. Acting Commissioner Arthur Caulton made the announcement and said the AFP presence is needed because of the difficulties Vanuatu has been experiencing recently, which is a polite way of saying the welcome mat is no longer out for Pascal Anh Quan and his kind. A Government mole tells us this volte face was negotiated by PM Sato Kilman’s office, an obvious political fist in the face to coalition partner Alfred Carlot.
It is regrettable that Vanuatu’s police, despite all of the assistance Australia and other donors have given over many years, do not yet have sufficient capacity to investigate and act against transnational crime. Hopefully the AFP this time around will not follow the paternalistic, know-it-all, in-line approach they have in the past. This complaint aside, the return of their expertise, and of the re-establishment of Vanuatu’s links to Interpol, is welcome.
The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill, says the Foreign Affairs Minister of Vanuatu, Alfred Carlot, is not telling the truth when he says he visited PNG at the invitation of the PNG Government. O’Neill made this statement in a media conference he gave on the Saken scandal in PNG earlier in the week. Vanuatu Government Public Relations Officer Jeff Joel Patunvanu had earlier told the PNG Post-Courier newspaper that Alfred Carlot had he and the Sakens were in PNG following the invitation of the PNG Prime Minister. Not true, says O’Neill.
The Transnational Crime Unit of the Vanuatu Police Force gave the PNG Police the right to return the “diplomatic passports” of the Sakens when they were apprehended there last week. Acting Police Commissioner Arthur Caulton said the Police were acting on the advice of the acting DG of Foreign Affairs. However, for Caulton, a big question remains – how can the Saken brothers continue to hold Vanuatu diplomatic passports when the Office of the Prime Minister had ordered their cancellation in September last year. He questions the validity of these passports. Like the Anh Quan CV we posted yesterday, they are full of grammatical errors. Perhaps, like the Phocea docmentation, they are forgeries too. Caulton questions how Foreign Affairs can be certain of their validity.
To the above we would add, why was Vanuatu’s EU Ambassador Roy Mickey Joy making diplomatic requests on the Sakens’ behalf, if his office was aware that the passports were invalid? And why was Vanuatu’s Brussels embassy involved at all, when PNG is a close regional neighbour of Vanuatu, and when the Department of Foreign Affairs has a Protocol office in Port Vila that normally handles diplomatic requests?
Foreign Ministry DG Johnny Koanapo complains on VBTC today against the media saying it is easy for the media to give the Government a bad name, but building back trust will take a long time. He is quite right. When lying and deception become the standard operating procedure of a national Government, and when a Minister of State consorts with known narcotics and arms traffickers and offers them diplomatic status, it becomes increasingly difficult for that government to re-establish its reputation. The media makes mistakes, too, of course, as in the statement yesterday we said Radio New Zealand International (RNZI) attributed to PNG PM O’Neill, that Minister Alfred Carlot arrived in Port Moresby on a plane belonging to the Sakens. RNZI say they didn’t say it. Our reporting erred somewhere along the way, and for that we apologize.
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Minister Alfred Carlot’s visit to meet Anh Quan Saken in Port Moresby had nothing to do with the ownership of the ship Phocea, he tells us today on VBTC Radio News. He travelled from Brisbane with the PNG foreign minister and received proper protocol treatment on arrival in PNG. He was simply using every opportunity to carry out his duties as Foreign Minister, he says, needing funds for setting up new overseas missions and for paying such debts as UNESCO membership, he says. No mention of collecting brown paper envelopes in preparation of the upcoming Provincial elections, however. Minister Carlot wanted to clarify to the public that Pascal Anh Quan Saken and Henry Charles Saken were on a diplomatic mission for the Vanuatu Government through the Council of Ministers which appointed them. We’d like to see the Government gazette where this appointment is confirmed, because last time this was publically broached, PM Sato Kilman was trying to put some distance between Quan and himself. The two Vanuatu naturalised citizens, according to Interpol and Pacific transnational crime experts, are known for their involvement with the drugs and the arms trades. The PNG Opposition Leader Belden Namah has spoken out against the visit of Carlot and the Sakens on Radio New Zealand International.
And PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill confirmed with Radio New Zealand International that Minister Carlot arrived on a private jet belonging to the Sakens. Minister Carlot’s passport was held while investigations continued, he said. However, following a meeting between the Sakens and the PNG Government, their departure was permitted on Sunday night at 8pm, even though PNG police wanted the plane, passengers and crew held while they investigated.
An anonymous commenter to this blog says that contrary to what we reported yesterday, Vu Anh Quan and his brother Charles Henry only began their association with Vanuatu two years ago, and are not ni-Vanuatu of Vietnamese origin, but from France. The commenter also says Alfred Carlot’s claim that Vu Anh Quan is his childhood friend is a falsehood.
The Director of Ports and Harbours, Morris Kaloran, says his suspension is politically motivated, and that the reasons given for his suspension by Government have already been dealt with by the Public Service Commission, he tells Daily Post. “It’s all to do with the issue of the mega-yacht Phocea. The government wants to release Phocea, but with my presence as Director of Ports and Harbours and applying the Vanuatu laws, we just cannot simply release Phocea like that,” said Kaloran.
Daily Post today, like VBTC News, also carries Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot’s refutation of his contacts with the Sakens having anything to do with Phocea, which hardly seems to matter now. So we now have a fourth Saken in addition to Pascal Vu Anh Quan, ‘Mme. ‘15%’ Thi Tham Goiset and Juris Gulbis: Charles Henry Saken. Presumably the giaman “university” at Pango is named after this Saken, the brother of Pascal Vu Anh Quan. We wonder how much this kastom honorific retails for. The Nagriamel movement is doing a sterling job of polluting the kastom of Santo by giving these questionable individuals this title.
Daily Post carries further information from the PNG Post Courier concerning the Sakens’ mystery flight aboard their 737 from war-torn Mali in West Africa, through the Maldives and Singapore to Jacksons Airport, Port Moresby. The mystery plane was allowed to leave PNG having breached no laws of that country, though the O’Neill Government, like the Kilman Government, has a history of allowing suspect people off the hook. And against the wishes of the PNG police. Sound familiar, Vanuatu readers? Post Courier also revealed a visit to the new US Ambassador to PNG, Walter North, by Minister Carlot, who refused to talk to Post Courier. Daily Post also carries further details of the Phocea’s fake registration.
By TODAGIA KELOLA
PNG Post-Courier, Monday 21st January 2013
THE two Saken brothers, Vu Anh Quan and Charles Henry who are connected with the suspicious plane are known for their involvement in drugs and arms trade, according to Interpol and transnational crime officials in the Pacific.
The two brothers are naturalized citizens of Vanuatu but are of Vietnamese origin.
According to PNG police, they became aware of the Saken brothers’ activities both in Vanuatu and throughout the world through Interpol and other law enforcement agencies, particularly Transnational Crime setup in the Pacific, of their involvement in drugs and arms trade, especially where there are rebellions and insurgency activities.
In their assessment of the incident, the aircraft landing in PNG has triggered off many outstanding allegations against the two Saken brothers and the current Vanuatu Minister for Foreign Affairs Albert Calot [sic] who is engrossed in an ongoing political power struggle in Vanuatu.
Police in their brief said: “The fact that the two Saken brothers were uplifted from Mali is very suspicious as this country is currently going through an open conflict and rebellion.
“What is more interesting is a large Boeing 737 aircraft is ideal for carrying firearms or other illicit contrabands.
“It is alleged that Mr Quan has travelled extensively into many hostile and trouble hotspots in the world and thus has been implicated in illegal gun running and drug trafficking activities in the recent past, especially in the Golden triangle area in South East Asia and in Central and South America. Thus it is obvious Africa is now his main focus.
“What is more suspicious is that they did stop over at the tax haven country of Maldives for re-fuelling purpose as indicated by the pilot.
“However, it is highly probable that any illegal proceeds may have been banked on this island to avoid being detected once they entered PNG, or to stopover in Singapore or Australia.
“It is no wonder they had to fly eleven hours direct into Port Moresby.”
While Phocea remains in Vila Harbour on its allegedly forged papers today, the Director of Ports and Harbours, Mr Morris Kaloran, was suspended last Friday, Daily Post tells us today. Questions concerning the request of the Brussels based EU representative for Vanuatu have also been raised. Vanuatu’s Ambassador to the European Union, Roy Mickey Joy, asked for PNG assistance for the plane taking the two Sakens to PNG. And overseas media tell us quite a bit more today, most significantly that Vu Anh Quan Saken and Charles Henry Saken are wanted by Interpol on charges of drug and arms smuggling. Their private charter flight originated in Mali in west Africa, where radical Islamic forces have take control over half the country, and a military intervention by France has just begun, an odd destination for a joy flight. The Daily Post page 1 story has government spokesman Jeff Joel Patunvanu telling us that Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot’s trip to Port Moresby is private, meaning it was not an official Vanuatu Government trip for Carlot to meet with the two Sakens. Serious consequences are likely for the Sato Kilman government, as it seems his Ministers and overseas diplomats have been aiding and abetting drug and arms smugglers. As we noted several weeks ago, Vanuatu has no laws in place to deal with persons wanted internationally for war crimes. Which perhaps explains why Vu Anh Quan and his associates want to set up shop in Vanuatu.
It appears that Vu Anh Quan and Charles Henry were both born in Vanuatu, members of Vanuatu’s Vietnamese population. Vu Anh Quan is a childhood friend of Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot. More on this to follow.