14 Nov 2015

Vanuatu conspiracy inquiry put back two weeks

5:08 pm on 14 November 2015

The preliminary inquiry into conspiracy charges against 11 Vanuatu MPs has been adjourned until 27th November by the Port Vila Magistrates Court.

Vanuatu President, Baldwin Lonsdale.

Vanuatu President, Baldwin Lonsdale. Photo: AFP

If the magistrate decides the MPs have a case to answer it will go to trial in the Supreme Court.

11 of the 14 MPs currently serving jail terms for corruption and bribery, along with three lawyers, had also been charged with conspiracy to defeat the course of justice.

The charges had followed the pardoning of the MPs on the bribery convictions, by the speaker of parliament, Marcelino Pepite, in his role as acting president.

Mr Pepite pardoned himself and 13 other MPs while President Baldwin Lonsdale was in Samoa.

After his return to Vanuatu Fr Lonsdale revoked the Pepite pardons and almost immediately police arrested 11 of the MPs on the conspiracy charge.

The 3 MPs not facing the conspiracy charge are Moana Carcasses, Serge Vohor and Steven Kalsakau.

Meanwhile, decisions on appeals on the MPs' bribery convictions are due on Friday next week.

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