14 Aug 2008

Vanuatu minister Korman cleared of bribery charges

7:21 pm on 14 August 2008

Vanuatu's Minister for Lands has been cleared of bribery charges related to a land lease.

The Daily Post newspaper reports that Maxime Carlot Korman was accused of bribery in relation to a Lelepa land lease he had tried to grant Gilbert Trinh of Turgoise, allegedly for about 30,000 US dollars.

The land was valued by an independent valuer at 20,000 US dollars and 15,000 by the Land Valuation Unit of the Department of Lands.

Mr Korman was cleared by the Supreme Court due to a lack of credible evidence from the main witness, the former First Political Advisor to the Ministry of Lands, Pedre Malsungai.

The judge said he could not rely on the evidence of Mr Malsungai because he believed the witness was trying to sell his evidence and couldn't be trusted.

The judge said he believed Mr Malsungai might have been an accomplice in the alleged crime.