1 Aug 2002

Appointment of Vanuatu police commissioner questioned

4:39 pm on 1 August 2002

Reports from Vanuatu say the deputy police commissioner, Holly Simon, wants the courts to clarify the process which led to the appointment of Mael Apisai as the new police commissioner.

Mr Simon took the action after it was revealed that Mr Apisai was chosen despite not being interviewed for the job while a selection panel had shortlisted four candidates for the job.

Mr Apisai was a member of the police until 1998 when he was retrenched under the Comprehensive Reform Programme.

The police service commission had a appointed a selection panel, headed by Jenny Ligo, who says recommended that Mr Simon be the new police commissioner.

But the selection was rejected by the police service commission.

A spokesman in the prime minister's office has declined to comment on the process but says the law makes no mention of a selection panel.

The announcement of Mr Apisai's appointment had been delayed for about a week.

Reports also say there was strong opposition to the job application by a naturalised citizen, the former ombudsman Marie-Noelle Ferrieux-Patterson.