28 Jul 2019

Vanuatu Opposition Leader files criminal complaint against PM

5:55 pm on 28 July 2019

Vanuatu's Opposition Leader says he has filed a criminal complaint against Prime Minister Charlot Salwai based on alleged perjury and bribery.

Vanuatu opposition leader Ishmael Kalsakau

Vanuatu opposition leader Ishmael Kalsakau Photo: RNZ/Sally Round

The move comes a week after an Appeal Court ruled against the Government's creation of Parliamentary Secretaries, declaring them 'void and of no effect'.

Ishmael Kalsakau accuses the government of using the positions to shore up their support and misusing public funds for the salaries.

The Vanuatu Daily Post reported the latest move was in line with his promise to use every legal avenue to ensure that justice was seen to be done.

Mr Kalsakau said he would also file a number of leadership cases after the Independence celebrations are concluded.

He said he had already spoken to the Acting Police Commissioner, Robson Iavro, about getting a team of investigators to prepare for the probe.

The Opposition Leader said he would rely on a number of witnesses including the Deputy Prime Minister, Jotham Napat and former Justice Minister, Ronald Warsal, who he claimed were not aware the Council of Ministers had endorsed the recruitment of Parliamentary Secretaries.

Mr Kalsakau said this was where the charge of perjury came into question, after the Prime Minister allegedly tendered a false statement to a judicial officer.

Mr Kalsakau said the positions were created during the Opposition's six failed motions of no confidence, in order to keep the government in power.

He also claimed Parliamentary Secretaries and their staff had been paid nearly $US3.5 million over the past year.

He said the aim of the complaint was to iron out alleged corrupt practices in government.

Mr Kalsakau denied being the Attorney General at the time the Parliamentary Secretaries were created.

Government Spokesman, Hilaire Bule insisted all Parliamentary Secretaries and their staff were receiving salaries approved by the Council of Ministers.

Mr Bule said the appointments were made under the Official Salaries Act and the idea of the positions was part of the government's 100-Day Plan.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Charlot Salwai accused Mr Kalsakau of simply continuing to try and gain support for another motion of no confidence against his government.

Vanuatu's prime minister Charlot Salwai in New Zealand

Vanuatu's prime minister Charlot Salwai in New Zealand Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Johnny Blades