21 May 2002

Vanuatu's Chief Justice dismisses misappropriation case against 23 leadersase involng politicians

4:16 pm on 21 May 2002

Vanuatu's Chief Justice, Vincent Lunabek has dismissed an ex gratia case against over 20 politicians accused of misappropriating public funds.

The case was dismissed because of the failure of the prosecuting lawyer to appear in court.

The lawyer was representing the Chief Ombudsman, Hannington Alatoa who filed the case after he released a public report accusing 18 former MPs and five present successful candidates of receiving public monies.

The 23 people named in the report were paid over 8-thousand US dollars each in the form of compensation after they were dismissed from parliament for boycotting it for three consecutive days.

The report had ordered them to reimburse the money and recommended that they not hold any leadership posts in the future.

The dismissal of the case is expected to cause a public outcry.