20 Jul 2005

Vanuatu complains to New Caledonia over US$50,000 cash confiscated from diplomat

5:28 pm on 20 July 2005

Vanuatu has made an official complaint to New Caledonia over the way customs officers in Noumea treated a diplomat returning to Port Vila.

Officials at the foreign ministry in Vanuatu say New Caledonian customs officers held Thi Tham Goiset whilst she was transiting through Noumea airport at the weekend.

Mrs Goiset had been carrying the equivalent of 50-thousand US dollars in Vanuatu currency, which was confiscated, along with her diplomatic passport.

The cash was said to have been intended for the purchase of a tractor.

The news agency Port Vila Presse reports Mrs Goiset hadn't declared the currency to customs.

She was passing through Tontouta airport on her way back from accompanying the foreign minister, Sato Kilman, on a trip to Europe.