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Allegations of cronyism and missing funds

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, April 18, 2009) – The National United Party of Deputy Prime Minister Ham Lini is under pressure from senior executive members to discipline NUP People’s Congress Chairman Jack Eric.

The former NUP Luganville MP spilled the beans on NUP secretary General Trades Minister James Bule and Assistant Secretary General Trades Ministry First Political Secretary Clifford Bice in a letters to the editor’s column.

In the letter Mr Eric alleged that only two or three people in the NUP are manipulating the Vanuatu Commodities Marketing Board that has brought humiliation onto NUP.

Recently kava farmers in Santo complained that they want the government open the kava export business and break the monopoly it gave Santo businessman Peter Colmar.

Mr. Colmar’s Valele Trust Company claimed in a letter to the Daily Post that the monopoly was in the best interest of the Vanuatu kava growers.

Mr .Eric apologized to all the farmers through out Vanuatu and said it was never the intention of the NUP to promote monopoly and he is calling on the government to issue more kava and copra export licenses to other exporters.

Daily Post was told that with the monopoly of kava given to only a company a kava grower expects to get Vt1000 [US$9.26] for their kilo dried kava. But the farmer does not know how much money the exporter makes when there is a kava demand overseas and it pushes the price of kava up. Yet they still get Vt1000 for dried kava because VCMB has only given the kava export to Valele Trust.

Earlier this year the Vice President of the NUP, former Finance Minister Willie Jimmy too called on the Police Commissioner and the Ombudsman’s Office to investigate Vt36 million [US$333, 000] that was supposed to be used for copra subsidies towards the last quarter of last year.

Meanwhile, there is conflicting comments from the NUP about Eric. Some say he is still the NUP’s People’s Congress Chairman while others say he has already been stripped from that position.

But as the Daily Post was going to press yesterday afternoon it received a copy of a letter to Eric from NUP President Lini advising him of his termination as the Acting Chairman of the NUP People’s Congress.

Vanuatu Daily Post: http://www.vanuatudaily.com

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