25 Nov 2020

Kalsakau tells Vanuatu Court former PM's statement was wrong

3:06 pm on 25 November 2020

The Vanuatu Supreme Court trial of a former prime minister today heard testimony from the current deputy prime minister.

Vanuatu's Charlot Salwai.

Vanuatu's Charlot Salwai. Photo: RNZ/Koroi Hawkins

Charlot Salwai is facing charges of corruption, bribery and perjury.

It was Deputy Prime Minister, Ishmael Kalsakau, whose complaint led to the trial, who was the first prosecution witness.

Kalsakau told the court a declaration made by Salwai about the appointment of parliamentary secretaries was incorrect.

He claimed a statement made by Salwai, saying his Council of Ministers had approved the roles and appointments of parliamentary secretaries, was wrong.

Last year the Appeal Court ruled the government couldn't create the parliamentary secretary positions.

Ishmael Kalsakau, who was then the Opposition Leader, had accused Salwai's government of using the positions to shore up their support, and, in doing so, misused public funds.

Ishmael Kalsakau, centre, outside the courthouse

Ishmael Kalsakau, centre, outside the courthouse Photo: RNZ Pacific / Hilaire Bule