22 Dec 2011

Vanuatu minister Iauko threatens TI staff over alleged corruption

2:29 pm on 22 December 2011

A Vanuatu cabinet minister involved in the violent assault of a newspaper publisher earlier this year has threatened staff at the local chapter of Transparency International.

The Minister of Public Utilities and Infrastructure, Harry Iauko, was fined for his role in the assault of Vanuatu Daily Post publisher, Mark Neil Jones.

The president of Transparency International Vanuatu, Marie-Noelle Ferrieux-Patterson, says recently the agency published an article detailing corrupt practices in which Mr Iauko was allegedly involved.

Disputing the claims, the minister went to the agency's office, threatening to throw staff out the window and burn their building down.

Ms Ferrieux-Patterson says Mr Iauko has not been able to disprove their claims.

"I think with the corruption growing we have a sense of threats of violence that has not existed before,, by some individuals - not all because I think most of them I would say are not like that, but there are a few top political people that are using violence, or the threats of violence, to basically keep everyone quiet."

The president of Transparency International Vanuatu, Marie-Noelle Ferrieux-Patterson