VANUATU GROUP WANTS DISCLOSURE OF ELECTION AUDIT

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By Kesha Light

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Port Vila Presse, Aug. 7) - Transparency
International Vanuatu has emerged to ask the government to make public the
report from the Auditor General on the financial problems and maladministration
which arose out of the original project of computerisation of the Electoral roll
and office organisation which was issued last year.

TIV is headed by a president, Mrs Marie Noel Patterson, the
country`s first and former Ombudswoman who has always drive to combat corruption
through transparency and accountability.

The request to make public last year`s AG Report came to light
during the launching of 2003 Luganville Municipal Elections reports at the
Transparency Office in Vila on Thursday.

Luganville Municipal Election took place on 4th March 2003 with
the Luganville Municipal Election Observer Group EOG following on the 3rd March
2003, under the initiative of Transparency International Vanuatu (TIV) with the
support of the chairman of the Electoral Commission, Electoral Office and the
aid assistance of AusAID and French Embassy.

Transparency International Vanuatu board members, Acting
Director General of Home Affairs, Mr Bob Loughman, Acting Principal Electoral
Officer, Mr Martin Tete, AusAid representative and a representative from French
Embassy with members of the media were the invited guest at the official
launching ceremony.

The call by TIV for the publication of AG report stemmed out of
results which revealed last year`s election petition, wasting a lot of money.

The president of TIV commented that last year an alleged amount
of 40 million vatu was assigned to the Electoral office for a complete
computerisation system within the office.

"If someone goes inside the Electoral office, he/she will
find that the office is the office with the most poor conditions and there is no
sign of the advanced computerised system in the office at all" Mrs
Patterson commented.

In response to the matter, the Acting Principle Electoral
Officer, Mr Martin Tete explained that with the limited staff as well as the
limited budget assigned by the government for Electoral Office, a lot of
criticism is flying around.

"For an election to take effect successfully, the Electoral
office needs around 40 million vatu but the government only assign 25 million
vatu which is not enough"

An aid of 8.9 million Vatu was also injected by Aid donors
during the May election last year. Namely the Australian government through
AusAID and the French government.

Mr Tete also explained that with the upcoming provincial
election and Presidential election, the Electoral office will need around 38
million vatu.

So far the government has budgeted an amount of 18.8 million.

The post of Principal Electoral Officer is still to be decided
by the government, whether to make permanent the Acting PEO or issue it out on
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August 12, 2003

Port Vila Presse: www.presse.com.vu/ 

 

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