17 Apr 2013

Vanuatu Minister seeks staff surrender leases obtained via flawed system

6:01 am on 17 April 2013

Vanuatu's Minister for Lands Ralph Regenavnu has officially requested that all staff of the Department of Lands who obtained leases over state land from the former Minister surrender these leases.

Lands staff have received individually-addressed letters from Mr Regenvanu requesting them to surrender the specific titles they had obtained.

A court case is ongoing and two internal investigations underway to identify staff of both the Ministry and Department of Lands who obtained leases in the last 12 months under a programme of preferential access to state land established by the former Minister, Steven Kalsakau.

The Minister has advised that all staff voluntarily surrendering their leases would be fully refunded the money they paid for the leases.

Mr Regenvanu is also requesting all local authorities not to issue any development permissions or building permits on the state land titles in question pending the outcome of investigations by the the Public Service Commission and the Ombudsman.