All Director General posts to be vacated by November as Kilman Govt makes DGs political appointees

Prime Minister Sato Kilman is advising all Directors General that their positions end in November. This follows legislation passed by the last Parliament and now gazetted. The DG job descriptions are being advertised and applications are required by 1 October. This suggests the outgoing Government intends to have new appointments finalised before the election campaign begins. The new amendments are “designed to improve performance”, says the PM.

In actuality, the amendments remove public oversight from these important and powerful positions, and make them political appointments. Salaries are decided by the Government of the day, not by the Public Service Commission’s salary scale for Government employees. We all know where this will lead – more corruption, more greed, more incompetent, unqualified cronies appointed, less transparency and of course greater power for Kilman and his associates. The net result for the people of Vanuatu? A public service unable to operate because of political interference, a reduction in the ability of Government to provide services to the population, and (yet another) stain on Vanuatu’s international reputation under Sato Kilman.

Vanuatu lost over Vt 100,000,000 on the Café du Village lease sale. The actual market value of the lease according to real estate agents is likely to be somewhere between Vt 100 million and Vt 150 million. This is what the Ministry should have required and what the new owner should have paid. If the land could legally be snatched away from the former owners, Fragephi Trust, as “obsolete” and “unmanageable”,  it would become public land. Minister Steven Kalsakau, as custodian of all public lands, should have required the best possible value for the people of Vanuatu — the market value. He didn’t. Fragephi has yet to announce what action it may be taking against the government or new owner or their agents.

It would be interesting to know who at the Lands Department was responsible for the trifling valuation of the Café du Village and whether that person will be entitled to cheap housing as envisaged by the Minister in his most recently announced scheme to provide land for his staff.

The Roving Ambassador to Russia, Thi Tham Goiset Saken, denies reports she is on bail conditions following a court application by the two Polynesian men associated with the luxury yacht Phocea. They are acting for Pascal Anh Quan Saken, said to be the owner of the vessel. Goiset denies this and any involvement with the yacht Phocea. A political adviser in the Prime Minister’s Office has cautioned Radio Vanuatu News to be careful in its reporting of this matter “as Mme Goiset is not involved in the yacht Phocea“. However, Prosecution says Mme Goiset is to appear in court on 4 October to answer charges relating to fraud and forgery, charges which have emerged in the Phocea investigations.

“Moli’s case may trigger a full trial” is a front page headline in today’s Daily Post. State prosecutor John Timakata has pointed out the former CEO of NISCOL, Kalfau Moli, has only had his sentence suspended in his obstruction and unlawful assembly case. Kalfau Moli remains guilty as charged and is therefore  ineligible to stand in the forthcoming elections. Readers of Daily Post last week wondered why Moli was loudly reporting the lifting of his sentence and intending candidacy without any report of a judgement being overturned. Says State Prosecutor Timakata: “Since Mr Moli is still guilty now the issue before the court is whether he is going to get a fine, a suspended sentence or even imprisonment.”