17 Oct 2002

Vanuatu's ombudsman implicates MP in bribery demands

6:16 am on 17 October 2002

Vanuatu's ombudsman is alleging that a current MP, Iarris Naunun, demanded and took a bribe when he was in the ministry of trade.

Hannington Alatoa has released a report which says that Mr Naunun asked for 500 U.S. dollars from a Swedish national, Patrick Jenny, in 1998 in return for a citizenship application form.

The report says when Mr Jenny realised that paying the money was illegal and returned to get it back, Mr Naunan told him that he'd already used the money to pay for his election campaign fee.

Mr Naunun promised to reimburse Mr Jenny but has not done so.

The ombudsman says the MP broke both the penal code and the immigration act.

He is recommending that the police work with immigration and the ministry of internal affairs to lay a criminal charge against Mr Naunun.

Meanwhile, the government is reported to have verbally agreed that an amendment be made to the ombudsman act to allow the prosecution to use the public reports as evidence in court.