Inquiry Into Huge Losses At Vanuatu National Provident Fund Started

Investments lose $41 million in 60-day period

By Jane Joshua

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, August 18, 2016) – The Government has established a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate over Vt4.454 billion worth of failed investments by the Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF), within a 60-day time frame.

This figure, said Minister of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM), Gaetan Pikioune, translates to almost 32% of the total investments undertaken by the Fund from 2007 to 2014.

Exercising powers conferred on him by the Commissions of Inquiry Act, Minister of Justice and Community Services, Ronald Warsal, ordered the establishment of the COI into the alleged mismanagement, illegal and improper conduct of the past and present staff of the VNPF and Board, involving the investment of the members’ funds into various unprofitable, nonviable businesses within the country and abroad.

 

“The amount of funds involved is quite substantial,” he said.

“We need people with the appropriate skills and knowledge in finance and law to undertake the inquiry to ensure results.”

The Commissioners are: Anita Jowitt, John William Timakata, Cathy Abel Nako with Jowitt as chairperson of the commission.

Tony Naliupis is appointed as Assessor and Andrew Kausiama secretary.

Meanwhile MFEM Pikioune, called for accountability.

“There must be accountability in how we manage our Fund,” he said.

“There are some investments which do not adhere to VNPF’s Investment Policy Guideline (IPG) thus it is important for the Commission to determine whether or not they were undertaken in accordance with the legal process.”

He acknowledged the Opposition Bloc for raising concerns and listing some of the non-profitable investments, the Minister of Justice for putting the COI instrument in place, State Law and also the VNPF Board and Management for their work in the last three years.

MP for Efate Joshua Kalsakau, stressed the importance of dealing with funds that belong to the people. He questioned the extent to which the investigation will proceed and whether officers implicated will actually be prosecuted.

 

In response Minister Warsal pointed out that the composition of people who will be undertaking the inquiry include Chartered Accountants and high profile lawyers.

“The question of whether criminal or civil proceedings can be advanced against people implicated is hinged on the findings of the Commission,” he said.

“We do not want this COI to be like the past COIs, such as the Commission involving our fishermen.”

He assured this COI is different and needs to be resolved as soon as possible, with an outcome that must satisfy the members of the Fund.

Justice Minister Warsal and MFEM Pikioune, launched the Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF) at the VNPF Conference Room 4pm yesterday.

High government officials present at the launching included two Director Generals, the Ombudsman, the Auditor General and the Governor of the Reserve Bank.

Vanuatu Daily Post
Copyright © 2016 Trading Post Limited. All Rights Reserved

Rate this article: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Add new comment