24 Dec 2015

Jailed Vanuatu MPs attempt to stand in snap election

5:46 pm on 24 December 2015

Vanuatu's finance department has confirmed that 14 former government MPs who are serving jail terms have applied to stand as candidates in January's snap election.

Tony Nari, Serge Vohor (middle) and lawyer Robin Kababa outside court on Tuesday.

Two of the jailed former MPs, Tony Nari and Serge Vohor (middle), outside court after their conviction in October. Photo: RNZI / Hilaire Bule

The former MPs, who are serving jail terms after they were convicted of bribery in October, submitted their applications and paid the US$890 candidates' fee from their Port Vila prison.

However, only last week the Supreme Court banned the convicted MPs from holding public office for 10 years.

But a former president of Vanuatu, George Sokomanu, says the fact they even tried to contest the snap election is outrageous.

"Where did that money come from? I mean, this is a big question: Who paid for it? You know, the law is there, it's a matter of law and if the Electoral Act says that if someone has been convicted and jailed there's no way he can stand. And it'll look bad for the electoral office if they let these people stand."

George Sokomanu.

Meanwhile, the office of president Baldwin Lonsdale has denied reports that he is considering pardoning the convicted MPs.