5 Jul 2011

Vanuatu corruption watchdog pushes for inquiry into passports for money

2:16 pm on 5 July 2011

Transparency International is pushing for a commission of inquiry to get underway over the issuing of passports in Vanuatu.

An auditor-general report into Vanuatu's diplomatic mission in China has found ministers and MPs have been circumventing the regulations in issuing passports to foreign citizens.

In April, ministers approved the setting up of a Commission to comprehensively audit all Vanuatu passports issued to date.

The president of the anti-corruption watchdog, Marie Noelle Ferrieux Patterson, says the exchange of passports for money amounting to hundreds of millions of Vatu has been widespread.

"It appears that the granting of passports especially to Chinese national who want to come to Vanuatu as a step towards going to Australia or New Zealand is a major business."

Transparency International's Marie Noelle Ferrieux Patterson.