21 Feb 2012

Uncertainty over Chinese cargo in Vanuatu port

6:58 pm on 21 February 2012

There is uncertainty in Vanuatu about how to use the contents of 14 containers from China.

Our correspondent says they contain construction material for a Chinese company, South Pacific Agricultural Grouping Limited, which is in the sea cucumber business.

However, there is speculation that one container is holding a large number of solar panels on behalf of the agriculture minister, James Ngwango, who granted the company a monopoly licence to harvest sea cucumbers in much of the north of Vanuatu.

Mr Ngwango has denied the allegations.

The Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority says the Chinese firm has the license to operate in the sea cucumber business, making any sale of the materials in the containers a breach of its license.