24 Jul 2019

Vanuatu opposition files criminal complaint against PM

6:21 am on 24 July 2019
Vanuatu's prime minister Charlot Salwai in New Zealand

Vanuatu's opposition said Prime Minister Charlot Salwai was among those facing legal action. Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Johnny Blades

Vanuatu's opposition is preparing a criminal complaint against Prime Minister Charlot Salwai and members of his government in relation to the recently voided parliamentary secretary positions.

Opposition whip Jay Ngwele told the Daily Post the complaint is based on the loss of public funds used to pay for the positions, which were created in 2016.

The Court of Appeal ruled the positions were 'void and of no effect' as of Friday, finding they went against the Constitution.

Parliamentary secretary appointments enabling MPs to receive additional salaries and benefits even though they were not ministers.

The opposition has accused the government of creating the positions to shore up political support.

Mr Ngwele said the opposition was in the early stages of filing a criminal complaint against Mr Salwai, Finance Minister Gaetan Pikioune and the former Parliamentary Secretaries.