Daily Post‘s page 1 headline today: “Investigation Demanded… Ambae EU aid project scandal gets attention of Euro-MPs”. Vt 21 million of the funds for the the EU-ACP Copra Oil Energy Generation Project on Ambae have allegedly been embezzled or mis-spent. Read the rest of this entry »
An investigative report in last weekend’s Independent newspaper alleges renegade mega-yacht claimant Pascal Anh Quan Saken gave USD200,000 to PM Sato Kilman for his 2012 election campaign. Prime Ministerial spokesmen have repeatedly denied this, but the Independent’s “close source from Government” said Saken was “trapped” by Vanuatu politicians, and the Vanuatu Government was implicated at the highest level in Anh Quan’s forged documentation and diplomatic passports.
The weekend’s Vanuatu Times says former Epi MP Ioane Simon is confident of a by-election on Epi because Robert Bohn Jr. has not been adopted by an Epi family, as is required by the Representation of the People Act. Ioane Simon is expecting judgement this week.
Vanuatu Times also has Vanuatu’s Ambassador to the European Union, Roy Mickey Joy, claiming that he was just doing his diplomatic duty for a fellow citizen in requesting passage for Vu Anh Quan Saken to Port Moresby, PNG, as Anh Quan had “legitimate and validated documentation.” There is no reference to Anh Quan’s use of allegedly forged papers in other matters such as the Phocea yacht registration. He makes no mention of the tremendous engineering help Saken claims to have provided for the Brussels-based embassy.
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 »
A man from Tongoa, hospitalised following a serious road accident in the Agathis area at the weekend, has died, Acting Deputy Police Commissioner John Taleo has announced to the media. The story is both sad and serious and has led to clashes between young men of several communitie, and Taleo is anxious to prevent the violence from spreading. The incident began as a road accident, but the media have reported that the bus was stoned by island-based gangs taking matters into their own hands. Homes have been damaged too. However, Taleo is quite right to insist on dealing with the matter as a traffic accident. The driver is being held by the police, according to VBTC midday news. He is certainly safer with them. However, look at how readily the South Tanna versus West Tanna dispute has enlarged.
The administrator of the South Pacific Fishing Company Claims Association, Mr Remy Kuaunuan, has told Daily Post that 1,000 fishermen are still awaiting their wage claims which date back to August 1989. The amount involved is huge, and many of the fishermen who spent years at sea with the SPFC company have not received any of the wages for which they worked hard for during their long and uncomfortable years at sea. Many have already died. The Council of Ministers has this year approved a commission of inquiry to look into the matter of the claims of each individual claimant. Mr Kuaunuan and his members question whether the commission has actually been formed. There has been no feedback from CoM at all about this matter.
Vanuatu’s Ambassador to the European Union Roy Mickey Joy has expressed his displeasure with the Pacific leaders in the ACP Group (the Asian, Caribbean and Pacific collaboration of developing countries) for not sending a Pacific leader to the current meeting of ACP heads of state in Equatorial Guinea. The ACP Group is due to expire with the Cotonou Agreement in 2020 and, Mr Joy is castigating his Pacific colleagues for not sending a president or prime minister. Meanwhile, Vanuatu’s Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot has been attending a meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People in Marrakech, Morocco.
Opposition leader Edward Natapei answers MP Robert Bohn Jr.’s accusations in Daily Post that the Opposition is the cause of instability by pointing out that Bohn signed an MOU with the Sato Kilman bloc, then held discussions with the Opposition, then formed a bloc (‘Cloud Zero’) with Independent MP Richard Namel “so that whoever got into government, the ‘Cloud Zero’ bloc would be in government.” Bohn at least admits the Opposition “captured the moral high ground”, even if he chose not to meet it there.
Bohn also apologises to his Epi constituency for his inability to provide an upgrade to the Burumba clinic there because expenses related to the motion of no confidence cost the country vt500,000, he said. Natapei points out that most of this sum of money has not been paid, anyway. The Opposition Leader also reminds us of the appalling state of the country’s finances, as detailed in the Motion. With some teachers still unpaid, the 2012 budget remains in disarray and there is no Parliament-approved budget for 2013. The situation is not unusual in Vanuatu. When Parliament does not sit for a Budget before the end of the year, the law provides for what is called a “supply bill”. This allows for three months of appropriation (January to March). The appropriation is based on the previous year’s budget, and does not need the approval of Parliament. This was quite common in the late 1990s and early 2000s when Vanuatu had political uncertainty. So, basic Government services should continue — to the extent they are currently actually being delivered. Whether or not this brings joy to the people of Burumba depends on what might have been decided for them by the Kilman Government. Both Radio Vanuatu News and Daily Post this weekend carry the Opposition Leader’s comments on Robert Bohn’s opinion piece.