12 Nov 2015

Vanuatu MPs' appeal claims loans, not bribes

8:19 pm on 12 November 2015

An appeal by 14 Vanuatu MPs convicted of bribery claims the money involved was not a bribe but a loan.

Moana Carcasses Kalosil

Former Vanuatu deputy prime minister Moana Carcasses Photo: RNZI

John Malcolm, the lawyer for former deputy prime minister Moana Carcasses told the Court of Appeal the money his client paid to the other 13 MPs was a loan and it was intended for work in their constituencies.

Mr Malcolm cited evidence given by MP Robert Bohn, who said he used the money for aid projects.

He said the money was to build a water catchment, a classroom and an aid-post in his constituency.

Mr Bohn, who was found not guilty of the bribery charge last month in the Supreme Court, has since been made the country's justice minister.

Mr Malcolm also referred to evidence from Minister of Internal Affairs Osea Nevu that he used the money to buy a vehicle for a tourism project in his community on Santo.

The four judges reminded Mr Malcolm that witnesses during the previous trial had said the money was intended to help remove the government of former prime minister Joe Natuman and install Mr Carcasses as the prime minister.