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Wants ‘bribe’ money back

Tuesday 29 December 2015 | Published in Regional

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PORT VILA – Vanuatu’s jailed former prime minister Moana Carcasses has initiated proceedings to recover the money he had given to the other MPs jailed with him for bribery.

Carcasses had given about $US9000 to each of a total of 18 politicians as part of successful moves to oust the government.

The Supreme Court ruled two months ago that this was bribery and jailed 14 of them, but Carcasses insists it was a loan and he now wants the money back. This has been confirmed by Carcasses’ lawyer John Malcolm, who has written to the MPs concerned.

Three weeks ago, all MPs were given $US36,000 as gratuity payments to mark the end of the parliamentary term, but the 15 MPs convicted in the case now have to repay that money.

Parliament was dissolved by Vanuatu’s president after the jailing of the 14 MPs triggered an impasse, and a snap election has been called for January 22.

Although they have been imprisoned for up to four years, the jailed former MPs have all paid their registration fees to stand for office next month.

- RNZI