28 May 2019

Vanuatu court dismisses Parliamentary Secretary case

2:23 pm on 28 May 2019
The Vanuatu Supreme Court building in Port Vila.

The Vanuatu Supreme Court building in Port Vila. Photo: RNZI / Jamie Tahana

The Supreme Court in Vanuatu has dismissed claims by opposition members who said the appointments of Parliamentary Secretaries violated the constitution.

The Daily Post reports the opposition argued the appointments were not provided for under the constitution, yet were being paid for from public funds.

The secretaries are paid additional salaries and benefits on top of their MPs salaries, but they are not cabinet ministers. The opposition argued this was to prop up support for the Prime Minister.

But Justice Dudley Aru ruled there is no evidence to prove that the appointments are a constitutional violation.

The ruling, however, comes too late for two parliamentary secretaries who resigned ahead of the court case.

The opposition leader, Ishmael Kalsakau, says the outcome was not he expected, and a decision on whether to appeal will be made in the coming days.