13 Nov 2015

Integrity of witnesses under scrutiny in Vanuatu bribe appeal

3:13 pm on 13 November 2015

The credibility of witnesses who were granted immunity by the prosecution continues to be the focus on the second day of the appeal by 14 Vanuatu MPs jailed on bribery convictions.

Lawyer Felix Lomae, who represents two of the MPs, Steven Kalsakau and Paul Telukluk, says in her Supreme Court ruling Justice Mary Sey was wrong in basing her judgment on the evidence of witnesses who he says were complicit in the bribery case.

Mr Lomae referred to MP Kalvau Moli and the new minister of internal affairs, Osea Nevu, who had been charged with bribery at the beginning of the case but later became prosecution witnesses.

A similar argument was made yesterday by lawyer Daniel Yawah, who questioned the credibility of those witnesses who had been granted immunity by the prosecution.

Also yesterday John Malcolm, the lawyer for former deputy prime minister Moana Carcasses, contended the money his client had provided to the other MPs was in the form of a loan and therefore did not constitute a bribe.

Gordon Avock, the lawyer for Tony Nari, told the court there was no clarity from the prosecution on the charge brought his against his client.

Most of the defence presentations have now been completed.