30 Nov 2007

Vanuatu opposition defends boycott of parlt over discipline action

4:58 pm on 30 November 2007

Vanuatu's opposition has defended its decision to boycott yesterday's session of parliament.

The Daily Post newspaper reports opposition MPs all walked out of the chamber in protest at a parliamentary action to discipline three members implicated in a major fraud case being investigated by police.

The government moved a motion for action to be taken against three People's Progressive Party MPs: Torba Dunstan Hilton, Noel Tamata, and Malon Hospmander.

The motion stated that the MPs brought disrepute to parliament by use of government cheques for fraudulent use of public funds.

It was then resolved under the motion that the three MPs be suspended from parliament for a period of six months.

But the Opposition leader Moana Carcasses says that the fraud case is still before the court and the MPs are innocent until proven guilty.

He says the opposition objects to parliament abusing the processof law in this way.

Mr Carcasses also says the motion means parliament is unlawfully muting the voices of the people these MPs represent.