8 Jul 2011

Luganville misappropriation-accused stevedores plead not guilty

1:07 pm on 8 July 2011

Vanuatu's Northern Islands Stevedoring Company or NISCOL's chief executive and another officer have pleaded not guilty to misappropriation charges.

A commission of inquiry recently found that the Luganville-based company owes more than five million US dollars to a number of different creditors, prompting a criminal investigation into allegations of misappropriation of funds for politicial purposes.

The charges against Kalfau Moli and Kalisto Savoie centre on claims that they signed a Westpac cheque for almost 22,000 dollars to pay for Union of Moderate Parties candidates who contested Luganville's Municipal Elections.

After a police search in May of the premises of NISCOL, which is largely provincially owned, Mr Moli said his company had done nothing wrong and that the misappropriation investigation itself was politically motivated.

The duo is to appear in the Supreme Court in September.