24 Jan 2013

Vanuatu's Anh Quan defends controversial PNG trip

2:12 pm on 24 January 2013

A Vanuatu diplomatic passport holder Pascal Anh Quan Saken has defended his controversial trip to Papua New Guinea last week.

Mr Saken, who says he owns the super yacht Phocea which has been detained in Vanuatu since July due to false documentation, became the subject of a police and customs investigation while in Port Moresby.

PNG officials briefly detained Mr Saken's passport while he and others on the private plane he flew in on were investigated.

Vanuatu's Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot, who was in PNG to meet Mr Saken and his brother, was also investigated.

Mr Saken, who says he is the Deputy Head of Vanuatu's Embassy at the European Union headquarters in Belgium, says his work as a diplomatic representative focuses on energy and disaster management projects.

"And the reason why we went to PNG is because Minister Alfred Carlot was so impressed by our work that I have done in Belgium that he wanted us to go to the USA to implement the same programme. So that's the reason why we came to PNG - because the only place for a Vanuatu citizen to get a visa for the USA is PNG."

Pascal Anh Quan Saken says he wasn't able to meet the US Ambassador in PNG as hoped, nor to apply for a visa, so he may return to PNG next month.

He also strongly denies allegations that he is a drugs or guns smuggler .