30 Jun 2006

Vanuatu government reimburses Chinese boatowners owed money by Marketing Board

10:35 am on 30 June 2006

Vanuatu's Council of Ministers has agreed to pay out half a million US dollars which the Vanuatu Commodities Marketing Board owes three local Chinese investors after using their boats to ferry copra from the islands to Luganville a number of years ago.

The transportation costs were not met because the VCMB was facing a financial crisis at the time.

The government spokesman, Patrick Crowby, says the government has agreed to bail out the VCMB with a soft loan to be taken from the government recurrent budget.

The three Chinese investors were awarded the costs by the Supreme Court in Luganville.

Mr Crowby says the Council of Ministers has requested the State Law Office draft an agreement for the government to take over the mortgage of a number of properties owned by the VCMB as security for the bailout.

He also says the government has ordered the Ministry of Finance to carry out an independent audit of the financial state of the VCMB.