3 Jun 2015

Vanuatu citizenship scheme gets stringent screening

3:46 pm on 3 June 2015

The direct-general of Vanuatu's Ministry of Internal Affairs says the government's scheme for selling honorary citizenship features a stringent screening process.

The scheme, part of the government's post-Cyclone Pam Economic Recovery programme, began in April with the government seeking new sources of funding to recover from the economic devastation of the March natural disaster.

Successful applicants paying Vanuatu 120,000 US dollars - six Chinese have so far been awarded honorary citizenship.

George Bogiri says the screening process is carried out by the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Vanuatu government under the attorney-general's office.

"That unit is linked with Interpol, and that's where we check all applicants. All the applicants who are cleared by the FIU are allowed to apply for honorary citizenship. Those who are not cleared by FIU through Interpol are not allowed."

George Bogiri says the scheme is already more effective than efforts by the previous government to sell citizenship.

"We have processed six cases and they've all gone through successfully and all monies paid into, it comes straight into government coffers. We're looking at the global community. We're starting off with Hong Kong and then what we want to do is learn from the experience we have with the Hong Kong office and then, learning from those experiences, move to other parts of the world."

George Bogiri

Port Vila international airport

Port Vila international airport Photo: RNZ

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