3 Dec 2009

Vanuatu Ombudsman says two leaders should be prosecuted of misuse of copra subsidy

8:36 pm on 3 December 2009

The Vanuatu Ombudsman is recommending two leaders be charged under the Leadership Code following his investigations into the Vanuatu Commodities Marketing Board's role in the alleged misuse of one point one million US dollars from the Government's copra subsidy programme.

In a report, the Ombudsman, Peter Taurakoto, says the two, whom he doesn't name, should be prosecuted for their role in the waste and mismanagement of the subsidy.

Mr Taurakoto says the duo should be charged and prosecuted for offences under the Leadership Code Act, while the Public Prosecutor should consider whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute other leaders for their roles in the misuse of the funds.

The Ombudsman's investigation found the fund was poorly managed, that the Marketing Board failed in its duty to ensure the funds were used properly and that poor decision-making and big spending, just before the 2008 General Election, contributed to the collapse of the scheme.