Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 10 September 2015: Gambling debt

The truly shocking manners of some of the MPs facing criminal charges in the Bribery Case leaves me with no choice today but to repeat all of Daily Post’s page 3 story of an MP concerning a gambling debt of VT 470,000. Henceforth I will leave details of this case until we come to the judgements.

There is good news available, and ni-Vanuatu are achieving in a variety of ways – and every day. But I will stay well away from the Bribery Case for a while now. However, today, Post’s Thompson Marango reports: Witness admits gambling with VT 470,000 … And the story will be seriously considered and evaluated by many in this country.

Daily Post says, and henceforth I quote: In court yesterday afternoon when cross-examined by a defence counsel, that he gambled away VT 470,000 given to him as a loan by MP for Pentecost, Tony Nari, Mera said "I put it back at the same place it came from, at the casino," when asked what he did with the money".

His answer resulted in laughter across the room (and Justice Sey having to call for order).

Mera informed the court that in 2014 MP John Tesei approached him at the nakamal and told him to go with him in the car to the airport with Mr Kaltaliu.

He conveyedd that they met Tony Nari at the airport … he was informed by Tesei that they would take loans from an investor.

MP Nari was inside a yellow bus which the three MPs went one by one inside to be given the loan.

He admitted being given Vt 500,000 by Nari who then asked him for an advance of Vt 30,000 so he went out with Vt 470,000.

No document of repayment was supplied at that time when he took the money which he told the court he has not yet repaid.

He remembered signing two papers inside the bus at the airport then he later learnt during calling for Parliament that his name was also included in a motion of no confidence.

When cross examined about the same inciden he said there was enough light to make out that the money was a pile of Vt10,000 notes which he took, believing that MP Nari was telling the truth that the loan is from an inverstor..

"You are happy to take a loan of Vt500,000 from some unknown investor?" a defence counsel ask Mera.

His answer was that he trusted Nari.

"You considered that the proper business-like behavious (being a businessman) to accept cash of Vt470,000 in a yellow bus at the airport in the dark and signed off some blannk paper?"

According to Mera the answer was "no."

He admitted that he did not go to the police to report that someone was trying to bribe him but he took it to the casino which was his first time to go there.

But he denied when asked during cross examination is he had asked for the money himself foir his gambling.

No charge was laid against him for taking the money.

Another incident revealed by MP Mera happened on September 2014 when he claimed Moana Carcasses, Willie Jimmy, Paul Telukluk, Steven Kalakau, and another person he forgot were present.

He claimed it was during that time that MP Carcasses told him to go to his office the next morning to get a loan of of Vt 1 million.

"He told me that when he gets into power he will add another Vt 4 million and an additional Vt 200,000 to his salary and if we are patient with him for 5 years the load will be wiped out," he informed the court.

Mera also said Carcasses asked him for them to change the government.