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Ombudsman questions 2006 land deal

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 21, 2008) – Vanuatu’s Ombudsman has recommended criminal charges be laid against the mayor of Port Vila, Paul Avock Hungai, and Tanna Member of Parliament Harry Iauko over the sale of public land at Fatumaru Bay.

The Daily Post reports that ombudsman Peter Taurakoto has released a public report revealing alleged leadership code breaches by the two politicians.

Among the claims against Mr Hungai were that he defrauded and financially deprived the Port Vila Municipal Council in 2006 by selling land well below the value determined by two different [assessments].

The report suggests that both Mr Hungai and Mr Iauko may have received bribes over the land deal.

The Ombudsman recommends that the Public Prosecutor instigate prosecution against both men for alleged bribery and that a court application be made to freeze their term deposit accounts.

There are several other recommendations relating to the Port Vila mayor, including for the Prosecutor to instigate prosecution against him for misleading the other municipal councillors.

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