5 Aug 2020

Former Vanuatu PM and MPs referred to Supreme Court

2:04 pm on 5 August 2020

Vanuatu's former prime minister, Charlot Salwai, has been committed to the Supreme Court on charges of bribery and corruption.

Vanuatu's prime minister Charlot Salwai in New Zealand

Former Vanuatu PM, Charlot Salwai Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Johnny Blades

Mr Salwai will appear on 1st September alongside former cabinet ministers, Matai Seremaiah and Jerome Ludvaune as well as former Tafea Outer MP Tom Korr.

If they plead not guilty there will be a trial.

Mr Salwai has also been charged with perjury.

This morning a senior magistrate declared there was a prima facie case for the four defendants to answer before the Supreme Court.

The current Minister of Education and Training, Seule Simeon, was also originally a defendant but charges were dropped after he became a prosecution witness.

The complaints were filed by the former Leader of the Opposition and now Deputy Prime Minister, Ishmael Kalsakau.

Mr Kalsakau alleged that in November 2016, the defendants bribed MPs who signed a motion of no confidence against the prime minister that ultimately failed.

Charlot Salwai, (right), talks with his lawyer outside court

Charlot Salwai, (right), talks with his lawyer outside court Photo: RNZ Pacific / Hilaire Bule