21 Jul 2015

Vanuatu minister stops investigation into his department

1:19 pm on 21 July 2015

Vanuatu's former lands minister, Ralph Regenvanu, says his successor Paul Telukluk is going against the public interest in his decision to withdraw a case against senior staff at the Department of Lands.

Ralph Regenvanu

Ralph Regenvanu Photo: WikiCommons / Marke Lowen

The case was lodged by Transparency International against a previous government after it emerged that the then minister, Steven Kalsakau, had deliberately undervalued state land properties for the benefit of his staff.

Mr Telukluk's office says he withdrew the case over concerns that he would not be able to work with the staff if he had a case against them.

Mr Regenvanu says the withdrawal is politically motivated due to Mr Telukluk's close links to Mr Kalsakau, and that it's questionable whether the case can be stopped.

"The state has already consented to the fact that the issuing of the leases was unlawful, and in fact the claimant is Transparency International. So, that's one question. But simply his stated intention to withdraw the case or stop the case, it leaves a lot to be questioned because all of the land involved is the last remaining prime vacant land in Port Vila and Luganville which could be used for public purpose."

Vanuatu's former lands minister, Ralph Regenvanu.