5 Feb 2020

Vanuatu's caretaker PM facing perjury charge - report

3:18 pm on 5 February 2020

Vanuatu's caretaker prime minister is understood to be facing a charge of perjury, along with several other high-profile defendants.

Vanuatu's prime minister Charlot Salwai in New Zealand

Vanuatu's caretaker prime minister, Charlot Salwai. Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Johnny Blades

RNZ Pacific understands several high-profile defendants will appear in court on 25 February, facing charges relating to corruption and bribery, aiding and abetting, conflict of interest and perjury.

Among them are Prime Minister Charlot Salwai, who is believed to be facing a charge of perjury.

The charges largely stem from a controversial move by the government to introduce parliamentary secretaries - paid government positions that the Supreme Court last year ruled 'void and of no effect.'

The Opposition last year called for a criminal investigation into the positions, which they called corrupt political appointments.

However, Mr Salwai has criticised the charge against him as a political move by the Opposition.

A spokesperson for Mr Salwai confirmed that he had received a court summons, but that the prime minister did not know what charge he was facing.

Mr Salwai's spokesperson said the case was a political ploy and would not affect his election campaign.

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