8 Aug 2007

Vanuatu political party members charged over fraud case

7:49 pm on 8 August 2007

Two members of a leading Vanuatu political party, the People's Progressive Party, have been charged in connection to a massive fraud case.

Police are investigating up to seven members of the PPP in connection to a group which has allegedly defrauded the National Bank of Vanuatu of 420,000 US dollars in June.

After reports of PPP's involvement surfaced last month, its MPs were dropped from Prime Minister Ham Lini's coalition government, including his deputy, and foreign minister, Sato Kilman.

The deputy police commissioner Major Arthur Caulton has confirmed that the Fiji fugitive, Salendra Sen Sinha, is the main suspect wanted for questioning over the fraud.

But Major Caulton says Mr Kilman is also on the list of those being investigated.

"Two PPP members of parliament - the former Minister for Youth and Sport, Dunstan Hilton, and the other member, who is an ordinary MP, Mahlon Osmanda - have been arrested and charged for complicity to fraud."

Major Arthur Caulton