2 Aug 2005

Concern over Vanuatu's honorary consuls

1:50 pm on 2 August 2005

Concern is being expressed again in Vanuatu about diplomatic passports and honorary consuls.

Vanuatu's Daily Post newspaper has highlighted an unauthorised web site seeking people to act on behalf of the government.

In the past, Ombudsman reports have accused politicians of receiving money and gifts in exchange for diplomatic passports.

The president of Transparency International in Vanuatu, Marie Noelle Ferrieux-Patterson, says a recent incident involving an honorary consul came to light in the past few weeks in New Caledonia:

"The police stopped an honorary consul from Vanuatu, this time it was not an outsider, and confiscated some money from the case that was not declared in the suitcase and basically the person claimed diplomatic immunity but because the cash was not declared it was kept."

Mrs Ferrieux-Patterson says there was also a question of passports being carried in the luggage.

She says she plans to ask the government for a list of all Vanuatu's honorary consuls