3 May 2012

Vanuatu opposition says Marae arrest an embarrassment

12:04 pm on 3 May 2012

An opposition MP in Vanuatu says last week's arrest in Australia of the prime minister's adviser, Clarence Marae, is an embarrassment for the country.

Mr Marae was arrested over an alleged tax scam while in transit in Sydney as he and the prime minister, Sato Kilman, were on their way to Israel.

Joe Natuman, who is a former foreign minister, is highly critical of Mr Kilman's government, saying in its ranks there is still a minister who has been convicted by the magistrates court.

Mr Natuman says the prime minister has to blame himself for the situation because he appointed Mr Marae.

"A lot of readers in this country know who Clarence Marae is. He has been to jail for the same kind of offences, for bribery and then the prime minister appoints him to a very important position, the private secretary of the prime minister. The private secretary is someone the prime minister relies on for advice."

Joe Natuman

Mr Marae has been transferred to Brisbane and will be back in court in two weeks.