23 Aug 2002

Vanuatu prime minister takes charge of Police and Mobile Force portfolios

10:22 am on 23 August 2002

The Prime Minister of Vanautu, Edward Natapei, has taken over the Police and Mobile Force portfolios from Joe Natuman.

Local political observers suggest the decision has been taken to distance the police from Mr Natuman, who was reportedly getting too close to them.

The change comes after 15 public officials had charges of seditious conspiracy struck out.

The 15 were arrested following the controversial appointment of a new police commissioner.

The arrests were struck out because police had acted without direction from the public prosecutor.

The appointment of the new commissioner has also been overturned and the original 12 applicants are to be re-interviewed.