7 Mar 2011

Vanuatu PM reviewing Cabinet Minister's future after assault

8:05 pm on 7 March 2011

A Vanuatu government spokesperson says the prime minister will be reviewing the future of a minister who's been accused of orchestrating an assault on a newspaper publisher.

Vanuatu Daily Post Publisher Marc Neil Jones says he was assaulted last Friday after the Public Utilities Minister Harry Iauko led a group of men into his office.

He says the Minister was angry about criticism of him published in the paper, and while he could not see who committed the attack Mr Iauko was in control of the situation.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister's office, Richard Caltona says Mr Iauko told him Marc Neil Jones should have sought his side of the story before publishing

"The Minister's comment was that Mr Jones went and published something without first getting the Minister's opinion. However, that does not excuse his actions. We have advised Mr Jones that if he so wishes to press charges to please go ahead."

Richard Caltona says Prime Minister Sato Kilman will be reviewing his options, but he can not say if they include sacking the minister.