1 May 2014

Six Vanuatu officials suspended over land deals

2:55 pm on 1 May 2014

Six senior staff at Vanuatu's Department of Lands have been suspended for the alleged misappropriation of state land.

The staff are linked to the issuance of state land titles sold to Lands staff during the tenure of a former Lands Minister, Steven Kalsakau, between 2011 and 2012.

These land leases have now all been cancelled.

This follows a campaign by the current minister, Ralph Regenvanu, to get these lands titles, which were sold at a discount and totalled almost 100, back to the state.

"The public service commission has engaged in a disciplinary process against the staff involved and that is proceeding as well. Under the public service commission, there was an investigation done and completed, and as of today six senior staff have been suspended, awaiting disciplinary action."

Ralph Regenvanu says there is also an ongoing investigation by the Ombudsman into the actions of Stephen Kalsakau as Minister and whether they breached the Leadership Code.