2 Dec 2003

Allegations in Vanuatu of outside interference in the country's affairs

3:30 pm on 2 December 2003

There have been renewed allegations that Australia is interfering in Vanuatu's affairs.

The Acting commissioner of the Vanuatu Maritime Authority, Less John Napuati, has written to the Deputy Prime Minister, alleging that Australian police are involved in investigations surrounding recently arrested fishing boats.

Mr Napuati said two Australian Federal Police agents had been into his office pretending to be computer experts.

He said he had also written to the police commissioner questioning whether such police officers would have any jurisdiction in Vanuatu.

There are currently police investigations underway in connection with the registration of two fishing vessels by the Maritime Authority whose licences were issued by the former Minister of Agriculture, Stephen Kalsakau.

The Vanuatu Daily Post reports that the Maritime Authority has commenced proceedings against the government over documents said to have been obtained illegally.