Vanuatu daily news digest | Leadership Code ignored

Over the last few days we have noted headlines like Customs Sale nets VT 7 million Gov.t revenue, Three Temporary Evacuation Centres set up in Port Vila, VNCW starts paying its outstanding Unelco Bill which had got seriously overdue, and 17 domestic flights cancelled and re-scheduled. These are not the sorts of news stories with which this newsblog is normally concerned and for which you read this service. The ‘silly season’ continues. However, tucked away on page 4 of Daily Post today (the Transparency Vanuatu page) we have TIV’s report: Absence of enforcement of Leadership Code Act – the watchdog has not teeth.

This story is most important and I bring you all main points of it here. Transparency Vanuatu’s National Integrity System has identified a complete absence of enforcement of the Leadership Code Act. Despite a number of Ombudsman reports recommending further action to be taken where breaches of the Leadership Code have been apparent, no prosecutions have been initiated. In one instance a former MP was found to be associated in abetting a forger. Another MP was convicted of abetting assault. Breaches of the Tenders Act were reported in matters associated with the Prime Minister’s Office in the years 2007, 2008, 2009. A former Speaker of Parliament mis-used his office for private gain. 188 leaders were accused in Ombudsman reports for failing to file annual returns: no-one was prosecuted. After the considerable degree of public and judicial condemnation of Public Prosecutions, the new acting Public Prosecutor will earn himself a place in Vanuatu’s history if he cancels out previous errors by showing a determination to prosecute past Leadership Code offences starting immediately. TIV urges likewise saying "the country’s integrity mechanisms are almost entirely dysfunctional, thus something must be done immediately to address the situation before it is too late."