16 Apr 2003

Vanuatu minister threatens to suspend Port Vila municipal council

9:42 am on 16 April 2003

The Clerk of Vanuatu's Port Vila Municipal Council has been given two more weeks by internal affairs minister, Joe Natuman,to put the council's house in order or face drastic government action.

The minister wrote to the clerk, Mrs Maureen Tom, last month asking for a written response to allegations of financial mismanagement, overpayment of certain councillors and instances of maladministration.

The minister's ultimatum expired earlier this month, without response from Mrs Tom.

Council souces say she has handed over the case to an attorney.

Mr Natuman says if a satisfactory response is not received by the new deadline he will have no option but to consider suspending the council and appointing a commissioner to run its affairs.