Vanuatu Agriculture College Council Chair Investigated

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Chairman allegedly overspent funds on transportation

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, June 12, 2013) – The Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry and Fisheries and BioSecurity, David Tosul, has told the Vanuatu Agriculture College Council (VACC) to carry out further investigations on the suspension of the College Chairperson.

The minister’s order came following a report he asked from the current VAC Chief Executive Officer, Neil Netaf, about the performance of the chairperson. The second VACC meeting this year held last Friday heard about this order when he stressed in his speech the need to address urgent issues about Agriculture College.

The First Political Adviser, Derek French, who accompanied the Minister to the meeting, told Daily Post, Chairperson William Nasak was suspended as a member of VACC the day before the meeting following the report of the CEO.

According to the CEO's Report there are issues that he was involved in that needed attention. He has committed the college into an expensive exercise by selecting a barge which cost over 2.4 million vatu [US$25,117] to transport the college bus to Luganville which at best should have cost Vt140,000 [US$1,465].

"The Ombudsman confirmed they have written to the chairperson asking him to respond on why and on what grounds was the former Human Resource Officer (Jansen Moli, who was the former Minister’s brother) recruited. He failed to respond.

"The chairperson has on three occasions requested funds from the college for the former minister- a total of Vt250,000 [US$2,616]. The college was promised this would be reimbursed but nothing has been done up to now."

Minister Tosul announced to the council he has given his First Political Advisor, Derek French, the ministerial appointment as council member and Interim Chairman of VACC until he is satisfied the investigation is complete.

At the end of his speech, Minister Tosul encouraged PA French to collaborate with the board members to make sure the future plans of the college are accomplished and that the college properly satisfies the farmers.

The council is the body responsible for promoting, linking and actively engaging students in the development of the agriculture sector as well as identifying funds and projects that drive the visions and aspirations of the college towards the future.

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