15 Dec 2015

Vanuatu conspiracy case adjourned

7:19 pm on 15 December 2015

A Vanuatu judge has adjourned the case of 11 former MPs and three lawyers charged with conspiracy until Tuesday next week.

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Photo: 123RF

The former MPs are among 15 who are serving prison sentences after they were convicted of bribery in October.

The conspiracy charges were filed after the then-speaker of parliament, Marcellino Pipite, pardoned himself and ten other MPs while he was acting president.

That was later overturned by the president, Baldwin Lonsdale, who later dissolved parliament in the political stalemate that followed the jailing of half the government of prime minister Sato Kilman.

Outside court, police investigators told journalists that their investigations into the saga are ongoing and they are expecting more arrests.

Immunity for lawyers

Three Vanuatu lawyers have been granted immunity by the public prosecutor, Josiah Naigulevu, in the case of an alleged conspiracy by 11 former members of parliament.

The three are Greg Takau, Robin Kababa and Eric Molbaleh.

They were initially charged over the controversial pardon issued by a convicted MP, Marcellino Pipite, to himself and others MPs after they were found to be guilty of bribery.

Pipite pronounced the pardons in his role as acting president but the decision was revoked and the court ruled that the action was unconstitutional.

Report say the three lawyers have submitted statement to the prosecution as prosecution's witnesses.

At this stage, Wilson Aumai is the only local lawyer facing charge of conspiracy to defeat course of justice.