Govt denies breach of contract over citizenship scheme, asks ‘where is our money’?

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Radio Vanuatu News reports the Vanuatu Government has not breached its contract with the Hong Kong agent for the CIIP citizenship sales scheme. PM Charlot Salwai, responsible for citizenship, says government negotiations with the agent after his government suspended the CIIP programme put in place by a former government. After the suspension, the agent took the government to court, claiming the government breach of contract. PM Salwai stated clearly that it was the agent who was in breach. Government has not been paid anything like what was agreed. And the monies have been retained by the agent, presently seeking judgement against the government through court hearings, have been moved to Caribbean tax havens, others reveal (it should be noted that the Hong Kong agent VRS strenuously denies this claim).

The previous government’s claim to have ended 2015 with a surplus simply means they ended the year with cash in hand, not that they had paid all outstandings. Daily Post today reports Vt 3 billion outstanding in civil service salary matters affecting teachers, health workers and police. Many have reached retirement age but have not received all their dues, creating “a social problem”, PM Salwai said in Parliament on Friday during the Supplementary Appropriations debate. He was being questioned by MP Ephraim Kalsakau, longtime union leader and Independent MP. The Prime Minister was able to report to the sitting of Parliament that the Council of Ministers has approved a mechanism to address all of the outstanding pay issues.

On another matter, Minister of Internal Affairs Alfred Maoh assured MP Ishmael Kalsakau in Parliament on Friday that the Commissioner of Labour has the powers to refuse work permits to foreign workers when there are locals capable of undertaking the same job. Radio Vanuatu News recorded Minister Maoh’s statement in the sitting on Friday.

There has been discussion in all media of certain parents neglecting their children attending the Freswota Bilingual School, leaving even tiny ones until well after the pick-up time of 2:30–4:30 in the afternoon. Daily Post today adds the School Chair David Seule’s stories of small children staying until late and teachers having to look after the children or otherwise find relatives in the suburb to do the minding.

And Councillor Rose Peter is enabling free health checks for voters from her small clinic at Ohlen Freswin. Members of the Vanuatu Indigenous Medical, Allied Health and Nurses Private Practitioners’ Association (maybe it’s easier to remember as VIMAHNPPA?) attended on Thursday. Dr Griffith Harrison, a dietician and five nurses were at Rose Peter’s clinic and over a hundred people received the free service. (Daily Post)


3 Comments on “Govt denies breach of contract over citizenship scheme, asks ‘where is our money’?”

  1. It is a sad day when Vanuatu’s Prime Minister resorts to the privilege afforded to statements made in Parliament to repeat a defamatory statement made by “others”.
    The allegation that “… the monies have been retained by the agent, presently seeking judgement against the government through court hearings, have been moved to Caribbean tax havens, others reveal” is wholly and utterly untrue and scandalous. Neither VRS nor any of its associated companies has moved any money at all to any Caribbean jurisdiction.
    The facts of the matter are completely at odds with the statement made by the PM: As recently as 17th May, the Hon Minister of Finance, heading a 6-man delegation that included the Attorney-General, came to Hong Kong, at his own initiative but clearly funded by our competitors PRG, to negotiate a settlement that would result in VRS withdrawing its Supreme Court claim against the government. During those discussions, the Hon Minister and his delegation were personally witness to a live log-in to the HSBC bank account in Hong Kong, where the funds referred to by the Hon Prime Minister were clearly showing in the account.
    Both the Hon Finance Minister and the Attorney General were fully satisfied with the existence and location of the funds and everything appeared to be moving to an amicable conclusion. So much so that the Hon Minister of Finance requested that our Chief Legal Officer draft a new agreement that would reflect the new understanding (which he promptly did and delivered). “As a gesture of goodwill to go home with” the Hon Minister also requested that VRS return to VG certain funds the return of which would have been a breach of yet another binding agreement entered into by the government.
    Sadly, it only took the Hon Minister 7 days to make a 180 degrees turn-around, to renege on these understandings and to demand the “return” of all of the funds that VRS had already placed for investment with third parties for the benefit of the government under another binding agreement with the government; funds which have passed out of the control of VRS. In an attempt to achieve by duress the breach of that second agreement the Hon Minister once again, on 24th May, illegally suspended CIIP and the government is refusing to process the citizenship applications that we have already submitted and continue to submit, thereby depriving Vanuatu of the revenue that the country sorely needs.
    Government has been paid exactly what was agreed and due and what they are asking us to do with the funds they are now claiming is in breach of binding agreements entered into by the government. Our claim against the government, PRG and others in Supreme Court Action 1089/2015 is both for breach of contract and conspiracy to induce breach of contract. The conspiracy appears to be continuing.
    It is time for the government to act in good faith by performing its contractual commitments. The people of Vanuatu and the world at large need to know that Vanuatu’s new government must, at last, honour its promises, if it is to maintain its credibility and reputation.
    Anyone who repeats the Prime Minister’s statement outside Parliament will be committing defamation and liable to compensate VRS in damages.

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  2. vanuatubible says:

    Hi Bob

    I realise you wish to send people to your blog but out here on Epi internet is so limited that web pages will rarely load. Email on the other hand comes, if not slowly.

    Any chance of some compromise? The internet age isn’t quite here fie all of us!

    Thanks Ross On Jun 20, 2016 11:00 PM, “Vanuatu Daily Digest” wrote:

    > bobmakin posted: ” Radio Vanuatu News reports the Vanuatu Government has > not breached its contract with the Hong Kong agent for the CIIP citizenship > sales scheme. PM Charlot Salwai, responsible for citizenship, says > government negotiations with the agent after his g” >

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    • dailyvanuatu says:

      Hi Ross,
      Bob is only responsible for the Daily Digests. He is not responsible for the operation of the website.

      Even if he was, the site is hosted for free on wordpress.com’s infrastructure. As such, we have no way to optimise the site.

      That said, the site is optimised for mobile devices – try viewing the site from a tablet or smart phone, that should improve your experience.

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