17 Sep 2015

Vanuatu court rules MPs have a case to answer

12:38 pm on 17 September 2015

Vanuatu's supreme court has ruled that 15 members of parliament, who are currently facing charges of bribery, have a case to answer.

The MPs are facing trial on bribery charges over allegations that they illegally accepted money from the deputy prime minister Moana Carcasses in a series of transactions last year when he was opposition leader.

Judge Mary Sey made the ruling yesterday following the attempt by defense lawyers to have the case struck out.

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Photo: RNZ / Walter Zweifel

Justice Sey told the accused that they are entitled to call other persons as witnesses or to give evidence themselves on their own behalf, and to be cross examined by the prosecution.

She also told them that they are not obliged to give evidence and may elect to remain silent.

Meanwhile Finance Minister Willie Jimmy, who has pleaded guilty to the bribery charge, is expected to give evidence following a request from the Public Prosecutor.