22 Mar 2005

Commissioner to run sacked Vanuatu Council accused of misadministration

3:40 pm on 22 March 2005

A Commissioner has been appointed to run a local council in Vanuatu suspended for alleged misadministration.

Vanuatu's minister of Home Affairs, George Wells, has suspended the entire Luganville municipal council on the island of Espiritu Santo.

The Council has been running a budget deficit of 46,000 US dollars and is accused of irregularities such as advancing pay, borrowing from council funds and calling meetings in order to collect extra allowances.

The First Political Advisor to the Minister, Joe Carlo, says it's not the first time the council's duties have been taken over:

"The commissioner has actually been in the post before. This is the second time the Luganville council has been in suspension. The chairman who has been appointed is Paul Hakwa, he was the former mayor, he resigned from his position as the mayor and was appointed as the Commissioner, he has done the job before and we believe he can get the house in order."

An investigator has also been appointed from the Provincial Affairs Department who will report back on the council's activities in the next six to twelve months.