Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 19 September 2015

A little more information concerning the huge cash transfer in the Bribery Case came to light in the hearing of evidence this week. Westpac Manager Operations Risk and Compliance, Edwin Williamson, testified that the USD 500,000 which made its way to PITCO (Pacific International Trust Co) in Port Vila originated with Kelvin Fong in Hong Kong. It was valued at VT 48 million and out of it, VT 35 million went directly to the account of Moana Carcasses at ANZ Bank. Williamson said that Thomas Bayer of PITCO had signed an incomplete document in the matter but it had not been signed by Kelvin Fong, Vila Times reported. Manager Compliance at Westpac, Leinasei Kaloris, told the Court of the distribution of money from the VT 35 million in the Carcasses account to other MP’s accounts. The Court also heard how Tony Nari MP dispersed funds to MPs Richard Mera, John Tesei and John Kaltaliu from a bus at the airport at the same time as demanding an advance of VT 30.000 for himself which was never repaid.

Still on the Bribery Case, The Independent this weekend seems to be claiming that defendant MPs’ Constitutional rights have been breached by the Ombudsman, Public Prosecutor and Supreme Court. Defendants have not been given any chance to explain themselves. Such a line is unlikely to take them very far when they have had a further fortnight on full pay to explain themselves yet not had anything to say. Daily Post today offers helpful summaries in the lamentable matter before the Supreme Court.

In likely more usual political shenanigans, the AVL CEO has been terminated according to Daily Post today and Vanuatu Post’s CEO suspended then re-instated.

Vila Times this week informs of a threat to strike by personnel of the national broadcasting service. VBTC’s insolvency has been in question for many years and remains thus whilst a commercial manager is sought.

Work being undertaken by the Shanghai Construction Group has caused the cancellation of two cruise ship visits to Luganville in a week. Everyone is trying hard to improve the situation.