7 May 2012

Vanuatu group wants action against Australian diplomat over arrest of prime minister's adviser

7:24 pm on 7 May 2012

In Vanuatu the secretary general of the Nagriamel Movement, Jeff Patunvanu, has called on the Prime Minister to expel the Australian High Commissioner in retaliation for the arrest of his private secretary, Clarence Marae, in Australia late last month.

Mr Marae was a member of the Prime Minister's delegation which was passing through Sydney on its way to Israel for an official visit when Australian police arrested him, reportedly on fraud charges going back ten years.

But Mr Patunvanu says the Australian High Commission should have advised the Prime Minister in advance of the danger Mr Marae was in if he entered Australia.

He says the High Commission had misled the Prime Minister's Office into believing everything was acceptable when it approved the entry visas for the party.

Mr Patunvanu says the Nagriamel Movement will take action if the Prime Minister does not act in line with his letter.

Meanwhile the Vanuatu government has sought an apology from the acting Australian High Commissioner, Charlene Watego.