4 Sep 2012

Former Vanuatu official connected to Phocea in court today

4:26 am on 4 September 2012

Vanuatu's former citizenship commission chairman Joe Melson Arnambath, is expected to appear for a pre-trial hearing in the Magistrates Court from today.

He is facing charges of complicity in the obtaining of citizenship by false and misleading statements during his time at the office.

Mr Arnambath will appear together with a Samoan and a Tongan who got their citizenship two weeks after arriving in Vanuatu.

They are accused of obtaining citizenship by false and misleading statements.

Both men had been on the super yacht Phocea which has been under scrutiny since July amid allegations of fake passport manufacture, drugs smuggling and customs offences.

Under Vanuatu law a foreigner must spend 10 years in the country before he can make an application for citizenship.