POLITICIANS FACE TRIAL
THE people of Vanuatu are closely watching a high profile bribery case which involves 19 Government Members of Parliament in the country’s Supreme Court.
On August 12 before a packed court room, the Chief Magistrate Stephen Felix committed the 19 MPs and a leading businessman to stand trial in the Supreme Court, with a first hearing date set down for September 1.
The trial has been completed and ruling is expected in the first week of this month. Nine of the 19 MPs hold offices as government ministers, Speaker of Parliament and Parliamentary Secretary.
They were all in Opposition late last year when they were charged with corruption and bribery under the Penal Code for allegedly accepting bribes from the then Opposition leader Moana Carcasses, who is now the Deputy Prime Minister. The men have all expressed their innocence saying the VU$24 million (US$226,629) involved was in the form of written loan agreements, with the monies to be spent in the MPs’ constituencies.
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