22 Oct 2018

Vanuatu judge sees more accountability in public office

4:56 pm on 22 October 2018

A Vanuatu judge says as a result of recent court rulings, public office holders are learning that they must be accountable.

The Chairman of Vanuatu’s Parole Board Oliver Saksak

The Chairman of Vanuatu’s Parole Board Oliver Saksak Photo: NZ Parole Board

It was Judge Oliver Saksak who overturned the former speaker of parliament's move to pardon himself and 13 other MPs of bribery charges in late 2015.

He said the sentences for these MPs, some of whom also received further jail time for the subsequent conspiracy convictions, set a standard of accountability.

Justice Saksak said these and later convictions had helped reduce corruption among MPs, as well as abuse of public office.

"There's now a lot of change, as I can see in a later case that involved the deputy prime minister that has come on. And he's been removed from his seat from parliament. And yes people are learning a great deal out of it, and they're taking extra precaution and care."

The former deputy prime minister Joe Natuman was this year given a two-year suspended sentence for perverting the course of justice while prime minister in 2014.

This related to the former Tanna MP's interference in a police probe of an aleged mutiny case within the force.

It was Mr Natuman who the same year laid a police complaint which led to the bribery court case against another former prime minister, Moana Carcasses, and fourteen other MPs.

All but one of the MPs were sent to jail.