5 Mar 2019

Vanuatu's president to pardon convicted former MPs

3:55 pm on 5 March 2019

Vanuatu's president plans to pardon 14 former MPs who were convicted and jailed of bribery and corruption in 2015.

Vanuatu's new president Tallis Obed Moses

Vanuatu's new president Tallis Obed Moses Photo: Dan McGarry

They were part of a scheme led by former prime minister Moana Carcassess, who paid MPs to support his motion to topple then-Prime Minister Joe Natuman.

The group to be pardoned also includes Marcellino Pipite, the then-Speaker of Parliament who as acting president pardoned himself and the other MPs soon after their conviction.

Those events kicked off a constitutional crisis that led former president Baldwin Lonsdale to dissolve parliament and announce a snap election in 2016.

In a speech in Port Vila today, President Tallis Obed Moses spoke of leadership, reconciliation and forgiveness before announcing his plan to pardon the former MPs.

This would open the way for them to contest next year's elections.

Mr Moses said he was still waiting on official legal advice.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs