11 Dec 2003

Vanuatu Maritime Authority gets new chairman

5:12 pm on 11 December 2003

The chairman of the Vanuatu Maritime Authority, Christopher Emele, has been replaced by a former civil servant, Lennox Vuti.

The new Public Works minister, Ham Lini, ordered the move yesterday citing concerns about a possible conflict of interest over Mr Emele's own fishing company while he was in charge of monitoring foreign vessels in Vanuatu waters.

But our correspondent, Kalvao Moli, explains that Mr Emele will remain on the board of the VMA.

"The complication with his removal is that when he went in he executed an amendment which was backed by the political party which he supported the the Union of Moderate Parties to have the VMA board on a three year contract there are substantial reasons and evidence that could see him being terminated but for the time being the government is going by the book so what they do is just demote him first and then have the evidence built up and then have him terminated they didn't want to make a quick job because at the moment legal costs in Vanuatu are costly and it's costing government an arm and a leg."

Our correspondent in Vanuatu, Kalvao Moli.