14 Oct 2013

Vanuatu opposition challenge huge airport development in court

4:34 pm on 14 October 2013

A hearing is underway in the Vanuatu Supreme Court over an opposition application questioning the legality of a deal to develop the country's airports.

The deal, with a Singaporean company called Vanuatu Trade Development Ltd, would involve major developments at provincial airports and the possible construction of a major new airport on Efate capable of taking large jets.

The opposition leader, Ham Lini, has asked the court to rule on the legality of contracts signed by the prime minister, Moana Carcasses and his deputy, Edward Natapei.

The development is reportedly worth up to 350 millon US dollars but the opposition says there was no tender as required by Vanuatu law.

By law any government project costing more than 50 thousand US dollars must go to tender.

Mr Lini has previously called the deal with the Singaporean company a scam.