16 Jan 2012

Vanuatu anti-corruption lobby: Russia ambassador a business deal

1:32 pm on 16 January 2012

Vanuatu's anti-corruption group says the recent appointment to Russia of a roving ambassador who gets commission consitutes a business deal.

It's been reported that the newly-appointed Thi Tam Goiset gets a 15 percent cut of any funds she can secure from Moscow on behalf of the Vanuatu government.

The foreign ministry in Port Vila could not be reached for comment but local media report the Minister as having reminded Mrs Goiset to work for the interests of the people and government.

However, Transparency International's executive director Marie Noelle Ferrieux Patterson says the appointment is not diplomatic in nature.

"How can you make that promise to give 15 percent - it becomes a business deal, absolutely a total business deal pretending to be working for the public. I think we are still researching at the moment to find whether any other countries have an ambassador appointed in different places and they get 15 percent of whatever money they can collect for the country."

Marie Noelle Ferrieux Patterson says it is hoped that the appointment and recent changes allowing for the sale of passports don't result in unwanted publicity for Vanuatu.