Allegations implicating Vanuatu PM spark possible defamation action

Updated at 4:05 pm on 5 February 2013

The Vanuatu police have been asked to investigate information published in an article which alleges that the prime minister Sato Kilman received 200,000 US dollars for his election campaign from the owner of a luxury yacht.

The Independent published a story over the weekend about Vanuatu diplomatic passport holder, Pascal Anh Quan Saken, whose yacht has been detained in the country since July last year due to false documentation.

It alleges that Mr Saken, who left the island before he could be questioned in relation to the yacht, transferred the large sum under the name 'Kilman campaign' before last October's general election.

The prime minister has denied the claims and his advisor Richard Kaltongga says they've asked the police to establish if there is a case for defamation action against the author.

"We've registered a complaint with the police, we've asked them to investigate this and to either give us a copy of that documentary proof that the newspaper say they have or give us the name of the person who's spreading all this mis-information."

Meanwhile the author of the article, Hilaire Bule, says a government source gave him a document which shows the transfer was made.

Personally I think that if we go to court and we have the proof of the transfer Mr Kilman the prime minister, it will spoil his reputation if we go to court.

Hilaire Bule says the newspaper intends to publish the document in its next edition on Saturday.

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