23 Oct 2008

Vanuatu court to hear election bribery allegations

7:27 pm on 23 October 2008

Vanuatu's Foreign Minister Bakoa Kaltongga and other politicians have been accused of bribery and fraud during last month's general election.

The Vanuatu Daily Post has reported that Mr Kaltongga, two former ministers and a former ambassador to the United Nations have been linked to alleged bribery and electoral fraud.

Complaints against the group came from a former prime minister Barak Sope and others.

It is alleged there was bribery and discrepancies during the election that saw a large section of voters turned back from polling booths because their names were not on the roll.

According to the newspaper, the chief justice Vincent Lunabek ruled last week that the accused do have a case to answer, and he will hear an election petition on Monday.

In 2001, Mr Sope was himself convicted of forging millions of dollars worth of government guarantees, and sentenced to three years' prison, although he was later pardoned.