5 Jul 2007

Vanuatu lands minister rejects allegations of corruption

4:09 pm on 5 July 2007

Vanuatu's Minister of Lands has dismissed allegations of corruption in land deals against him.

Allegations have surfaced in recent months surrounding Maxime Carlot Korman and his involvement in at least four land deals in Port Vila and two in Santo.

The Daily Post newspaper has produced documents revealing that while Minister of Lands, Mr Korman has issued leases to a company controlled by himself and his son on disputed land for well under market price which was then onsold at a huge profit.

Transparency International also alleges the minister has been giving away public land and unregistered property to political cronies.

However, the Minister has defended the deals and says his company followed proper procedure.

"They try to make allegations against me and my former company. I resigned from that company, and it's doing dealings on land in the interests of local people - we're trying to help ni-Vanuatu. I think those who make allegations about me, they have to declare their interest because they have companies that deal with lands in Vanuatu, and they make a big profit."

Maxime Carlot Korman