Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 29 May 2015

The most interesting news of today is in the Transparency page in Daily Post. It takes up the story revealed a few days ago in Post of the likely pyramid scheme or scam in the United Development Bank of the Pacific (UDBP). The bank’s President Kevin Lai, it is assumed, would be using account owners’ funds to supply services such as the UFun Club which entertained Vanuatu officials when in Thailand. UDBP was intended to operate as a local bank whilst also being an off-shore bank. It had promised to build the new courts. It was also to build an eight-storey headquarters opposite the Melanesian Hotel. UDBP had been granted approval by the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu which congratulated President Kevin Lai, and said the bank has an important role to play in advancing the Vanuatu economy. Kevin Lai has now been arrested by Thai Police over allegations of wrongfully raising funds in a pyramid scheme from some 8,000 people mainly in China. There is no telling to what extent the bank depended on receiving funds from Asian persons seeking to relocate under the CIIP.

Radio Vanuatu was this morning broadcasting proceedings from the first Extra-ordinary sitting of Parliament. Amongst other matters to be debated is a supplementary provision of VT 48 million for recovery following cyclone Pam. This sum would, as with other recovery funds, be expected to comply with the Finance and Economic Management Act. There are some 9 Bills before this sitting. However, the sitting was adjourned until Monday.

The Vanuatu People’s Investment and Equity Fund – VPIEF opened its first commercial centre in the Korman area yesterday.