17 Jul 2020

Pardons for Vanuatu MPs jailed for conspiracy

1:42 pm on 17 July 2020

Vanuatu's president has pardoned nine former members of parliament who were jailed on conspiracy charges.

The MPs had been convicted for conspiring to defeat the course of justice over a bribery scandal which rocked the country five years ago.

The convicted former MP and former Speaker of Parliament Marcellino Pipite.

The convicted former MP and former Speaker of Parliament Marcellino Pipite. Photo: Hilaire Bule

The men are among a group of 14 MPs, or half the former government of Sato Kilman, who were jailed on bribery and corruptions charges in 2015.

Following the conviction, one of the MPs, Marcellino Pipite, who was speaker of parliament, used his temporary powers as acting president to pardon himself and the others.

That decision was subsequently overturned by then-President, Baldwin Lonsdale, and the 14 MPs were jailed for the earlier corruption charges.

Pipite and his co-conspirators were subsequently also charged with conspiracy, and eventually jailed again for terms of up to three years and ten months.

The former MPs pardoned are Pipite, James Jonas, Tony Nari, Thomas Laken, Arnold Prasad, John Amos, Jean-Yves Chabod, Pascal Iauko and Silas Yatan.

President Tallis Obed Moses signed for the former MPs and four other inmates to be pardoned, effective from July 9th.

However the Daily Post reports that while the sentence of the inmates has been pardoned, there was no mention of the conviction of each of the MPs on the instrument of pardon.

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