9 Apr 2012

Vanuatu government accused of meddling in alleged fraud case

1:11 pm on 9 April 2012

A Vanuatu businessman has accused the government of deferring a court case to protect the lands minister, Steven Kalsakau.

Willie Ben Karie, who is a former policeman, alleges that the minister and his brother Yoan Kalsakau defrauded him over the purchase of a ship from South Korea.

Mr Karie says his company Belair Shipping Services paid the Kalsakau brothers' company a quarter of a million US dollars for a barge.

He has told the Daily Post newspaper that he had travelled to South Korea two years ago to inspect the vessel but that it has never arrived in Vanuatu.

The newspaper says the police fraud unit has questioned the two brothers.

Mr Karie cliams that the case has been deferred to spare the alleged suspects any punishment.