1 Oct 2012

Senior Vanuatu police officials arrested and charged with mutiny

7:00 am on 1 October 2012

Three senior officials within the Vanuatu police force have been arrested and charged with mutiny and inciting mutiny.

The deputy police commissioner Arthur Caulton; the Chairman of the police service commission Tonny Arthur; and the commander in-charge of the Southern part of Vanuatu police Pierre Carlot were all arrested last Friday.

They face six other charges but the two main ones are mutiny and inciting mutiny.

The Commander of Maritime John Mahlon Taleo was also taken into police custody.

A police source says more senior officers and politicians are listed to be arrested also in connection with the allegations.

The police commissioner, Joshua Bong, says the arrests follows a court order over his suspension as the police commissioner.

Mr Bong resumed his duty has commissioner last week after a 3 month suspension and his contract as commissioner ended Saturday night.

Following the arrest of the deputy commissioner it is not clear yet who will be acting commissioner until a new one is appointed by the President, Ioulu Johnson Abbil.

Mr Abbil had signed the 3 month suspension of Mr Bong under the recommendation of the Police Service commission.

Mr Bong argued that his suspension did not follow the procedures and allegations made against him were baseless.

Arthur Caulton, Pierre Carlot and Tonny Arthur appeared before the magistrates court on Saturday for release on bail but were refused bail by Magistrate Rita Navita because charges against them was beyond her jurisdiction.