22 May 2002

Vanuatu's ombudsman to appeal against dismissal of case

2:17 pm on 22 May 2002

Vanuatu's ombudsman is to appeal against a decision by the chief justice dismissing a case against 23 former and current politicians.

Chief justice Vincent Lunabeck dismissed the case because the prosecution failed to make a court appearance.

Ombudsman Hannington Alatoa says it appears that a misunderstanding over court dates is to blame for the non-appearance of their lawyer.

"I have advised my counsel to try and seek the court to set aside that decision of the 8th so that we can continue the case because the case is quite an important one for the country."

The 23 politicians were paid over 8-thousand US dollars each as compensation for being dismissed from parliament for boycotting it for three consecutive days in a row.

The ombudsman's report had ordered them to reimburse the money and recommended that they not hold any leadership posts in the future.

The dismissal of the case is expected to cause a public outcry.