Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 7 September 2015

Justice Mary Sey this morning excused Finance Minister Willie Jimmy Tapangararua from the Bribery Case court proceedings. Jimmy, however, chose to stay on as an observer. He is "no longer part of the case" following his decision to appeal "guilty" to his two charges, Radio Vanuatu News said at lunchtime today. He pleaded guilty to counts 52 and 53 alleging he received a million vatu from Acting PM Carcasses, one who is not registered as a legitimate and acceptable loan giver. Jimmy’s new lawyer, Ronald Warsal, was in court today, having accepted to take on Jimmy as a client along with those who have received indemnification. Justice Sey thanked Jimmy who has agreed to assist the court. He would be given a reduction in sentencing as a result after the trial. The case continued this afternoon.

The Opposition has called on Prime Minister Sato Kilman to cut short his overseas trips, Radio Vanuatu News reports at lunchtime today. Former PM Natuman told a press conference the country is presently in a very risky situation but the Prime minister seems un-concerned. Natuman said that the trips may be good, but with the allegations against so many of Kilman’s cabinet colleagues, he must come back immediately to the country.

Daily Post this morning was stronger, seeing the necessity of a motion of no confidence. The press conference was led by Opposition Leader Lini and former PM Natuman who said they had already advised the Government there was no alternative in this national political crisis. They pointed out that 16 MPs facing bribery charges were giving Vanuatu a very bad image regionally and internationally. Daily Post reported PM Kilman very impressed with China’s victory day parade to mark the 70th anniversary of China’s victory over Japan at the end of World War Two.

Daily Post readers were also this morning advised through the AB’s Regional Director Dr Andrea Iffland of the importance of annual maintenance of infrastructure. This was at the launching of the Vanuatu Infrastructure Strategic Investment Plan, and extremely worthwhile project containing 26 high priority projects worth VT 38 billion. Maintenance will cost a further VT 1.8 billion. The projects involve the ADB, Australia, New Zealand, European Union, European Investment Bank, Japan and the World Bank Group.