1 Oct 2012

Vanuatu government monitors ructions in police over mutiny allegations

2:38 pm on 1 October 2012

Vanuatu's caretaker Internal Affairs Minister says the government is closely monitoring events within the police force after the arrests of three senior police officials over mutiny allegations on Friday.

Those arrested were the deputy Police Commissioner Arthur Caulton, the former Chairman of the Police Service Commission Tony Arthur; and the Southern Police Commander, Pierre Carlot.

Their arrests were ordered by the Police Commissioner Joshua Bong shortly after the end of his three-month suspension for incompetence and just days before the scheduled expiry of his contract.

Charged with one count of conspiring to incite mutiny and one count of inciting mutiny, the three men appeared before the Magistrate's Court on Saturday and were refused bail.

However they made applications to the Supreme Court for bail which was granted to them yesterday.

The Minister George Wells says Mr Bong's allegations of mutiny are baseless.

"There is no intention or incitement of mutiny. But I don't know how the Commissioner (Bong) has acted, based on some hearsay report that the Deputy commissioner (Caulton) tried to incite a mutiny against him. But the government is monitoring very closely what is happening."

George Wells says Joshua Bong's tenure as Police Commissioner has ended and that Major Caulton is the acting Police Commissioner as appointed by the President.

The Police Service Commission, which reportedly met last night to renew Mr Bong's contract, is understood to be planning to meet this afternoon.