Transparency Vanuatu’s post-election ‘to-do’ list; Vanuatu aviation students expelled due to non-payment by Vanuatu GovtPosted: January 21, 2016
With 14 MPs from the just disbanded Parliament in prison, and just 20 hours left before Vanuatu voters choose those who will form a new one, Transparency Vanuatu is calling on voters to ensure MP integrity and support for the rule of law. Transparency sees a need for substantial reforms in the political system to make Parliamentarians more representative and responsible to the citizens of this country. Regulation of political parties through new legislation to control political finances, accurate updating of the electoral roll and putting the voting system beyond abuse are seen as essential. But TIV’s Dr Willie Tokon adds revision of the parliamentary standing orders, regulations concerning MP allocations, and rules about no-confidence motions must also be considered essential. Last, but not least, TIV’s Chairman insists the Right to Information Bill gets enacted and the Ombudsman Act and Leadership Code are expanded.
The large number of election observers reflects the widely held view that we have left many of the items on the TIV “to do” list for rather too long a time. Election observers represent the Commonwealth, Forum Secretariat, MSG, EU, Australia, New Zealand, China the UK and USA, Daily Post points out this morning. The Dept. of Internal Affairs’ Cherol Ala yesterday told of the immense task in organizing the snap election in such a very short time. There was the added difficulty of the Principal Electoral Officer being taken seriously unwell in the midst of the huge preparations. However, apart from the difficulties perceived on Tanna the electoral process has run smoothly over very long days. Tomorrow will be the longest. 262 candidates are contesting and 200,159 voters should be deciding who best can achieve what Dr Tokon has asked for.
The bottom line: 14 MPs being in gaol and staying there might suggest it is time we have to know and trust those for whom we are voting.
The Melbourne, Australia Weekly Times newspaper has pointed out Read the rest of this entry »
Port Vila MP Willie Jimmy says he will appeal the striking out of his electoral petition against Prime Minister Sato Kilman, VBTC Radio News reports Jimmy saying at a press conference yesterday. He says the Electoral Commission has allowed an offence to go unheeded. Jimmy says that a debt to the state has been sanctioned in his constituency, and that he will appeal yesterday’s judgement. The radio news story did not say whether an appeal can be allowed in such a matter or if he has to submit a different case.
The Independent’s ‘smoking gun’ for its story last week on PM Kilman receiving USD200,000 from Pascal Anh Quan Saken is an email to that paper from Saken saying “Bro! Never! But I have sent lots of money to Madame Goiset, in order to pay the legal bills of mr PM sato kilman, during his fight against the motion of ‘non confidence’ in April; 2011!! Warm regards”. The email contains typos and grammatical errors similar to those found in other documents by Pascal Anh Quan Saken. The Independent also refers to a series of emails believed to have been sent from Brussels where Anh Quan claims he financed the restructuring of the Vanuatu Embassy there. Elsewhere he claims to have carried out this work after graduating from the Charles Henry Saken University at Pango. He wants to restructure the Vanuatu United Nations mission. He is working as a volunteer. More such fabrications are expected in the Phoceable future as the present Government continues to conceal a matter which has destroyed all of its credibility—making diplomats of dubious people with hidden agendas.
Meantime, The Independent has more news of Sakens falling out. Last year, ‘Mme. 15%’ Thi Tham Goiset was charged with forgery contrary to section 140 and uttering forged documents contrary to section 141 of the Penal Code Act. Both charges carry a penalty of up to 10 years behind bars. Furthermore, last year Mr Saken filed a criminal case against Mme. Goiset alleging the Vanuatu diplomat forged his signature so she could transfer the ownership of a vehicle belonging to Anh Quan to herself. An Independent newspaper investigation finds that this criminal case is still pending at the State Prosecutor’s Office. And now MP Robert Bohn Jr. of Vanuatu Maritime Services Ltd says the owner of the Phocea has contacted them to ask for registration of the Phocea on the Vanuatu Shipping Registry, Bohn says on the front page of today’s Daily Post. Might VMS Ltd advise the Commissioner of Police on the identity of the owner in order to assist lawyer Less John Napuati with his prosecution ‘in rem’ of the vessel? This would help the Trans-National Crime Unit by clearing the name of the real owner and releasing further information about the illegal documentation (on which VMS Ltd must now be clear) which has bedevilled the Phocea since its arrival in Vanuatu.
Today’s Daily Post carries an interesting letter from the Santo Chamber of Commerce pointing out how nationally desirable it should be for any new airport to be built in Luganville rather than Port Vila. It makes no silly reference to 747s and points out how an airport could be built without having to depend on patronage-seeking investors.
Lastly, Daily Post also carries a full page story on George Bogiri and his conflict of interest in Pacific Migration Consultants, under the banner of Transparency International Vanuatu. Eagle-eyed readers will observe that it quotes extensively from the story we published on the matter, but attributes all quotes to the Daily Post. Bigfala shame, Daily Post and TIV—credit where credit is due, please.
The shock horror news of today is the former political adviser in the Ministry of Health being awarded a VT 3 million health consultant contract as qualified and experienced health practitioners are being retrenched. Daily Post reports his fee is higher than any ni-Vanuatu doctor’s salary. Joemelson Arnhambath Joseph formerly worked in Snoopy’s Stationery and as Chairman of the Citizenship Commission when that office became embroiled in controversy. From evidence before the various Phocea court cases, Arnhambath acted as middleman for the citizenship of the two ‘debt collectors’ in the employ of Vu Anh Quan Saken, obtaining their citizenships in contravention to the Citizenship Act and in (possibly) record time. The Government has not laid any charges in this matter. Arnhambath served under his brother-in-law, former Minister Willie Reuben, as political adviser, and his new 12-month contract was signed by the now removed DG of Health, Maturine Carlot Tary. Arnhambath will “ensure human resource workforce remunerations and grading per per the revised health structure are carried out in timely manner and ample time”, whatever that means.
Daily Post also highlights the visit of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) DG, Pascal Lamy. He will have kava today with DPM and Minister for Trade Ham Lini, before departing tomorrow. Trade Director Sumbe Antas told Daily Post the brief visit is in relation to the almost deadlocked Doha Round of talks and the ministerial meeting of the WTO in Bali next month. The Vanuatu Council of Churches and other organisations are hoping a mission promised to assess the relevance of the WTO to the aspirations of the people of Vanuatu will still take place here, after a strong campaign against the WTO accession.
The re-count of the vote in Santo Rural constituency now awaits a date to be set by the Supreme Court. The re-count will be attended by the Chief Justice. This is the only case of electoral dispute which has been registered so far with the Supreme Court, and today is the last day for receipt of electoral petitions from the 2012 General Election, Radio Vanuatu advises.
One petition likely to find its way to the Electoral Commission today is MP Willie Jimmy’s contesting the validity of Sato Kilman’s candidacy. In today’s Daily Post, Jimmy says he has already signed his petition. His petition centres around claims of an unpaid debt to Government of Kilman’s. The Kilman v Tete 2008 Supreme Court civil case 133 of 2008 required an order of the Chief Justice to be complied with and a conference of 22 August for a Judicial Review of the matter to be held. These outstanding issues will need to be resolved to confirm Kilman’s electoral legitimacy.
There was no new post yesterday, but the Opposition’s committed MPs hold key to political stability in the Daily Post of yesterday’s date was telling. Opposition Leader Edward Natapei is “not confident the current 29 MPs will provide the lasting political stability the government craves.” MPs failing to honour agreements to which they have committed themselves are the greatest concern, he says, as MPs up to this week have switched sides regularly.
Both Daily Post and Radio Vanuatu News give the short listing of senior police officers being considered for the Police Commissioner position.
Allegations that police personnel have been involved in lease purchase arrangements for their government quarters are denied by outgoing Internal Affairs DG George Bogiri who denies any knowledge of such a scheme. It would, however, possibly explain the dereliction of numbers of such houses in the Independence Park area. Such uniformed personnel recently packed the Lands Department over the issue. The Transparency International Vanuatu page in Daily Post today has the Lands DG’s response to recent accusations against the Lands Records Office, answers which will do little to restore public confidence in the Ministry and Department of Lands.