5 Aug 2002

Vanuatu's Commissioner of Police, Attorney General and 13 others arrested

11:27 am on 5 August 2002

Senior police officers in Vanuatu have arrested the newly appointed Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General, Ham Bulu, along with 13 others following claims that the head of the police was put in place illegally.

Others arrested include the government spokesman, David Bangtor , the Secretary to the Council of Ministers, Nandine Alatoa and the Private Secretary to the head of State, Rave Nikhai.

The action was ordered by the deputy police commissioner, Holly Simon, who last week asked the courts to clarify the process which led to the appointment of the Commissioner, Mael Apisai.

Mr Simon took action after it was revealed that Mr Apisai was chosen although he was not interviewed for the job and a selection panel had already shortlisted four candidates.

The Minister of Internal Affairs, Joe Natuman, said the Council of Ministers is to met and it is expected to advise the head of state to revoke the appointment of the police commissioner.

The accused appeared in court yesterday and have been released on bail.