16 Oct 2012

Vanuatu PM claims Electoral officer erred in suspending him from poll

4:53 am on 16 October 2012

The Vanuatu Prime Minister's political advisor, Richard Kaltongga, says errors made by the Principal Electoral officer in the compilation of the candidates list for the election led to his suspension.

The government last week suspended Lawson Samuel and transferred him to head the Remuneration Tribunal.

This followed the publication of a candidates list for the October 30 election which excluded the name of the Prime Minister Sato Kilman on the grounds that he owed the government 140-thousand US dollars.

Mr Kaltongga says that attributing this debt to Mr Kilman was originally a mistake by the Value Added Tax office.

He says Mr Samuel's move to initially exclude Mr Kilman is just the latest in a number of errors.

"There's some other stuff like for example in the past with the ballot boxes going to and from the islands. The security for that is usually done by the police force and the Vanuatu Mobile Force. But the Electoral Officer signed a contract with a private security company owned by police officers currently under suspension."

Richard Kaltongga.