9 May 2013

Vanuatu Lands Minister hopes to flush out staff involved in dodgy land deals

3:17 pm on 9 May 2013

Vanuatu's Lands Minister says his pursuit of state land titles leased under a previous preferential access process is a chance to flush out Lands staff actively involved in dubious land deals.

Last month, Ralph Regenvanu requested all staff of both the Ministry and Department of Lands who obtained leases over state land from the former Minister Steven Kalsakau to surrender these leases.

So far no one has done so although a number of staff have said they have been wrongly recorded as having leases.

Mr Regenvanu says pending results of investigations by the Public Service Commission and the Ombudsman Office next week, his Ministry will have further grounds for pursuing the land titles.

"The staff were notified in a letter, in the letter I gave them, that if it was found by the investigation that leases were issued unlawfully, they could face disciplinary procedures under the Public Service Act as well as under the Leadership Code, and also possibly criminal charges under the penal code."

Ralph Regenvanu