19 Mar 2018

Vanuatu deputy PM to stay on despite sentencing, for now

From , 6:04 am on 19 March 2018

Vanuatu's deputy prime minister says he won't be stepping aside immediately after being given a two year suspended sentence by the Supreme Court.

Joe Natuman and a former police commissioner, Aru Maralau, were sentenced on Friday after earlier pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and complicity to interfere with the court process.

In 2014, Mr Natuman -- when he was prime minister -- ordered Mr Maralau to stop a police team from investigating high-ranking police officers accused of mutiny.

The sentence means Mr Natuman narrowly avoids automatically losing his seat.

However, Mr Natuman - while refusing to talk about the case itself - told Jamie Tahana that he will speak with the

prime minister, Charlot Salwai, and the people of his Tanna electorate about his political future.

 Vanuatu Deputy Prime Minister, Joe Natuman.

Vanuatu Deputy Prime Minister, Joe Natuman. Photo: OFC via Phototek