Vanuatu Ministers To Appear In Court Over Phocea Incident

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Education, foreign affairs ministers face ten charges

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Aug. 30, 2012) – Two Vanuatu government ministers are expected to appear in the Supreme Court next week in relation to customs and immigration charges surrounding the super yacht, Phocea.

The vessel has been detained in Vanuatu since last month.

On Wednesday state prosecutors submitted an application for nine people to appear in court on Friday next week, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alfred Carlot and the Education Minister, Marcelino Pepite.

They are facing ten charges, including alleged fraud offences.

Mr. Pepite has admitted being on the Phocea before it was cleared by Customs but says he was attending on the Government’s behalf.

The skipper of the Phocea, Richard Malaise, will also appear next Friday.

Two weeks ago 13 crew members were fined for disembarking Phocea before it had received official clearance from customs and immigration.

And an American student who was also on the vessel, Faviola Imgrad Brugger Dadis, was fined 1,400 U.S. dollars for breaching customs laws and obstructing police.

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