16 Jul 2020

Vanuatu court issues search warrant for information about local company

5:45 am on 16 July 2020

A Vanuatu court has issued a search warrant to allow police to collect information from government departments and private companies regarding Prime Roadworks Ltd.

Last year the ni-Vanuatu owned company was awarded a public contract to build the roads on Santo in the country's north.

However the Minister of Public Utilities, Jay Ngwele, has complained to police, alleging that the awarding of the contract did not follow proper procedure.

The warrant issued to police allows them to seize computers and mobile phones from suspects, and to collect data from Vanuatu's main telecommunications providers.

Most of the suspects in the alleged case are civil servants.

Last week, following the minister's complaint, two senior officials in the Public Works department were suspended in relation to allegations over the contract.

Those sidelined are the Director General of Public Works, Harrison Luen, and its Deputy Director, Andre Iatipu.

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Photo: RNZ / Moera Tuilaepa-Taylor