8 Aug 2007

Former Vanuatu Deputy PM to remain in Forum role

7:47 pm on 8 August 2007

Vanuatu's former Foreign Affairs Minister, Sato Kilman, will continue as chairman of the Pacific Islands Forum's Fiji Eminent Persons Group, despite questions over his alleged involvement in a multi-million dollar fraud.

Mr Kilman lost his foreign affairs portfolio, and his position as deputy Prime Minister, after members of his People's Progressive Party were implicated in a scheme which had defrauded the National Bank of Vanuatu.

The Fiji Eminent Persons Group was formed early this year to find ways to assist Fiji return to democratic rule.

After dropping PPP from his coalition, Vanuatu's Prime Minister, Ham Lini, originally indicated he would not support Mr Kilman staying on in the Forum role.

But the Fiji Times reports that after last week's meeting with Forum Secretary General, Greg Urwin, Mr Lini reversed his position.

Mr Lini's political secretary, George Bogiri says Mr Kilman has been very instrumental right from the beginning in dealing with the issues that have come up in Fiji.

Mr Bogiri says Mr Kilman knows a lot about the Fiji situation, and the Prime Minister wouldn't want to wreck the momentum of the work that has been done so far.