29 Jul 2011

Call for aid to Vanuatu to be conditional on legal shake-up

9:59 am on 29 July 2011

Transparency International Vanuatu is calling for countries such as Australia to make their aid to Vanuatu conditional on reform of the legal system.

The organisation's criticised the light sentence given to a government minister convicted of involvement in the assault of a newspaper publisher.

The president says the one-hundred-and-50 US dollar fine the Minister of Public Utilities and Infrastructure Harry Iauko received gives other politicians the green light for similar behaviour.

Marie Noelle Ferrieux Patterson says aid money should be used to pressure the government into appointing an independent and efficient public prosecutor.

"Vanuatu it's a young legal sector. Maybe they need to bring more people from outside. So if they're not going to be from Australia maybe they can get some assistance from somewhere else. But we need assistance and we need a more efficient office. As long as we keep a weak prosecutor office the corruption in this country will grow because it is for sure going unpunished."