Vanuatu daily news digest | 4 February 2013

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.

Advertisements

Vanuatu daily news digest | 30 January 2013

The Minister for Internal Affairs, Toara Daniel, responsible for Immigration, has said the Ministry responsible is not aware of the formation of Pacific Migration Consultants and that the Director General of Internal Affairs George Bogiri must resign because of the conflict of interest presented by his setting up of this company in his own name. Daniel did this following a press conference by DG Bogiri and Principal Immigration Officer François Batick yesterday morning. The Minister’s remarks were reported by Radio Vanuatu News. Bogiri and Batick were giving their explanation why ‘Government’ hired Bogiri’s company to handle all of Vanuatu’s visa applications. DG Bogiri rejected media reports regarding the creation of the business, saying they are “baseless and unfounded,” and explaining the business was formed because of the numerous public complaints about the bad work of the Immigration Department. Batick backed him up and added there would be other agents in future. Straight after the Bogiri press conference, his Minister met members of the media and questioned the self-interest of the DG in making such a move. Minister Toara Daniel said Bogiri must resign and the PM and Council of Ministers must closely examine the matter. The Minister responsible was never informed of the move to set up such a business and observed that policy is only a matter for Government.

Daily Post today begins detailing by the TVL network failure which yesterday affected many of the telecommunications in Vanuatu. The failure interrupted fixed phones, mobiles and internet communications for periods of many hours, and not all services were restored by the end of the working day. More explanation is expected soon. This blog apologises for not delivering a new post yesterday.

Roch Wamytan of FLNKS promised MSG leaders and pioneers at the Symposium last Saturday that FLNKS (Front de libération nationale kanak et socialiste> would help the regional organisation in many ways during the next two years of its (FLNKS’s) presidency. However, his address, as covered by Daily Post, makes it quite clear that for FLNKS, Independence in New Caledonia is Kanak Independence, not France entering into the MSG inside a New Caledonian Trojan horse. Wamytan reiterates Fr. Walter Lini’s vision that Vanuatu cannot be free and independent until the whole of Melanesia is free and independent. France is not Melanesia: Kanaky is.

The Vanuatu Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Ham Lini, performed a custom “face cleaning” ceremony of national apology last Sunday towards the Deputy Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Leo Dion, following recent events in Port Moresby with the unexpected visit of the Vanuatu Foreign Minister, Alfred Carlot, to PNG. The apology was accepted, said Radio Vanuatu News, in conformation with the spirit of unity which has prevailed during the MSG anniversary celebrations. It was considered important because the Prime Minister Sato Kilman was not aware of Carlot’s visit to PNG, necessitating PNG PM Peter O’Neill’s statement that Carlot had lied in what he told the press.

Prime Minister Sato Kilman opened the Shefa Community Transformation and Healing of the Land Conference of the Efate Presbytery by extolling the importance of “genuine” business investment and development to improve the lives of the people. Furthermore, close and regular dialogue with genuine development partners is important in face of the many challenges which confront the whole world. Government has a duty to understand and meet the needs of its people, together with supplying the development needs of the country, economical and social, with due regard to custom and the Christian faith of Vanuatu, VBTC News reported Kilman as saying. Land can become a blessing if we manage it well, he said, but it can also become a curse if we neglect or damage it.

Vanuatu’s Ambassador to the European Union, Roy Mickey Joy, has declared that the work of the Embassy is to provide consular assistance to citizens following Vanuatu law and the countries in which he works. Vanuatu’s EU Embassy was mentioned in media reports last week following Ambassador Joy’s request for clearance for the private jet carrying the two so-called Sakens to land in Port Moresby to meet Vanuatu Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot. It will be recalled that cancellation of Vu Anh Quan Saken’s passport was ordered by the Prime Minister last year. The ambassadorial “clarification” was covered by Radio Vanuatu News.

The two Bulgarians who allegedly broke into the ATM of a Port Vila bank recently
have been remanded until next week
when their case will be heard after court sittings resume.


Vanuatu daily news digest | 27 January 2013

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 »


Saken brothers known for drugs, arms trade: Interpol [PNG Post-Courier]

Sekan [sic] brothers known for drugs, arms trade: Interpol

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.”


Vanuatu daily news digest | 20 January 2013

The plot thickens. After this blog broke the story last Friday, Radio Vanuatu News and Daily Post took the news of Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot and Phocea claimant Vu Anh Quan Saken meeting in Papua New Guinea a step further this morning. The Vanuatu Government says it is not aware of Minister Carlot’s visit to PNG, announced Government Public Relations Officer, Jeff Joel Patunvanu, after it was revealed that PNG Police are likely to arrest Carlot in relation to a transnational crime. This came to light after the arrival in PNG and arrest of Vu Anh Quan Saken and Charles Henry Saken on Thursday. Both are wanted in Vanuatu in connection with the mega-yacht Phocea saga. This is the luxury sailing boat in Vila Harbour detained by the Vanuatu Ports and Harbours Director despite the efforts of Prime Minister Sato Kilman to have the vessel released.

PNG authorities became suspicious about the Sakens’ arrival on a chartered Boeing 737 at Port Moresby’s Jackson airport after PNG officials received correspondence from the Vanuatu Ambassador to the European Union in Brussels requesting clearance for the Sakens, who were said to be both holding Vanuatu diplomatic passports. The Sakens made an unusual request for the 737’s crew to sleep on board during its stopover in Port Moresby, but this was denied by the PNG aviation authorities. PNG Police suspect there are quantities of cash on board as the Sakens arrived with large sacks, saying they would clean the plane, which had come from the Maldives and Singapore. The two Sakens were carrying false identity documentation and claimed they were in PNG on a private mission with Minister Carlot.

Reproduced below is a letter from the Embassy of Papua New Guinea requesting clearance for the Sakens:

Request from Brussels PNG embassy for flight clearance for Vu Anh Quan Saken and Saken Charles Henry, 11/01/2013

Read the rest of this entry »


Breaking news: Vu Anh Quan, Alfred Carlot in Port Moresby; PNG police investigating

News coming to us via internet chatter is that Vanuatu’s Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot is now in Port Moresby following his meeting in the United Arab Emirates. Coincidentally, or perhaps not, alleged owner of the Phocea, Mr Pascal Vu Anh Quan Saken is also present in Port Moresby, and is being investigated by Papua New Guinea police concerning international criminal matters. “Has Vanuatu’s super-yacht Phocea scandal reached #PNG?” asks PNG blogger Tarvurvur.


Vanuatu daily news digest | 3 January 2013

Happy new year to all of our readers! We are back online after a brief intermission.

Today’s Daily Post  shows that the provisions of the Vanuatu Maritime Act may prove costly to new citizen Vu Anh Quan Saken, alleged owner of the yacht Phocea. The vessel has been detained for several months awaiting legal papers to prove its ownership. So far, investigators have only been presented with forged papers. Using false documentation is an international crime under the Port State Control (PSC) maritime agreement to which Vanuatu is a signatory, the Tokyo MoU. The Prime Minister has attempted to have the vessel released, as did the late Minister Harry Iauko. But Ports and Harbour Dept personnel are determined that the matter be dealt with legally,as their international reputations are on the line.

The Opposition is taking Prime Minister Sato Kilman to task over his intention to release the Phocea. Under the PSC MoU to which Vanuatu is a signatory, only the licensing officers of the Ports and Harbour Department are entitled to do this. The Opposition has issued a press release noting that the PM has stated that matters of law and order are to be dealt with by the appropriate authorities, but the Opposition accuses Kilman of hypocrisy, as he has taken the Phocea case out of the hands of the legal authorities. The Opposition asks in whose interests is the PM is acting, Daily Post reports.

Tony Nari is the new Minister for Infrastructure and Public Utilities. Nari, elected to Parliament in October last year under the banner of the Iauko Group, is also now the Iauko bloc’s leader following the death of Harry Iauko.

Read the rest of this entry »