25 Jan 2006

Anti-corruption watchdog in Vanuatu disappointed with Port Vila politics

4:40 pm on 25 January 2006

The anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International is skeptical about hopes that the city council elected in Vanuatu's capital, Port Vila, will deserve respect after accusations it lacked integrity.

The former mayor and the private secretary of the prime minister, Patrick Crowby, has been re-elected as a councillor, although he still owes the assembly thousands of dollars in loans he took out when mayor.

Mr Crowby appears to have broken a rule in which anyone who owes the council money for more than two months is not eligible to contest the election.

But Transparency International is disappointed the new mayor Paul Avock doesn't seem to have set an example.

Marie Noelle Ferrieux Paterson of Transparency says Mr Avock has outstanding borrowing himself.

"He has received illegal monthly allowances, illegal housing allowances, illegal function allowances and made different advances that he has never repaid. So he owes probably about 15,000 Australian dollars."