18 Aug 2005

Vanuatu Internal Affairs minister says no MPs accepted bribes by deportee

3:48 pm on 18 August 2005

Vanuatu's Internal Affairs minister says he is satisfied that no MPs who were offered bribes by a Singaporean businessman deported this week have accepted any money from him.

George Wells says William Chong was deported after allegedly offering bribes to ministers and MPs if they signed agreements for projects, including an international airport on Malekula Island.

Mr Wells says the deportee offered the prime minister 200,000 US dollars, ministers 150,000, and members of parliament, 75,000 each, if they signed his document.

He says he understands that with the backing of Taiwan, Mr Chong was trying to destabilise the government by offering the inducements.

"We've been checking around with the MPs yesterday, if they've received any money but they all deny that, no. All the opposition MPs have signed the document, they're roughly about thirteen, I think, and some government backbenchers also have been signing the document. But as of yesterday, they've all withdrawn their signature."

The Internal Affairs minister George Wells