Commission Of Inquiry Into Misappropriation Of Vanuatu's European Development Fund Launched

Inconsistent reporting by Task Force, alleged misappropriation to be probed

Compiled by Glenda Willie

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 24, 2017) – Minister of Justice, Ronald Warsal, has launched yesterday afternoon, a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the alleged misappropriation of European Development Fund 2017-2020.

He acted on two consecutive Council of Ministers (COM) decision in November 2016 and May 2017 on setting up independent Commissions to look into and report on the appropriation of the first release of the European Union Development Fund.

In May 2016, the EU and the Government of Vanuatu agreed on the first part of the Action Document for the Vanuatu National Indicative Plan 2017-2020 under Vanuatu Value Chain (VaVaC) Program.

The Government had committed under the terms and conditions of the EDF through action document, financing agreement, reports and programmer which have guaranteed the EDF funding of first stage of the VaVaC program.

A total amount of EUR21 million [US$23.5 million] was an envisioned budget support over the 2017-2020.

“As of today a total amount of VT130 million [US$1.2 million] has been used under the fund administrators.

“The COM is concerned on the inconsistency of the reporting obligation on the use of the fund and the alleged misappropriation by the VaVaC Task Force,” Warsal announced.

He stated that the Government had set up the inter-ministerial coordination as the VaVaC Program Task Force with the composition of the Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM), Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Forestry and Bio-Security (MALFFB) and Ministry of Trade, Tourism, Trade, Commerce and Ni-Vanuatu Business (MTTCNVB).

He continued, “As the Minister concern, I wish to state that the appointment of the Commission of Inquiry will be tasked in following the money according to their comprehensive terms of reference and for an independent report to be submitted to the Ministry and COM.”

The Minister of Justice also appointed members of the Commission who are experts in their respective fields.

The members include Edward Nalyal as the Chairman; the Secretary is Mohammed Ritzwan and Professor Donald Paterson as the Assessor.

The Commissioners are; Merelyn Arnhambat, Andrew Tarinatu and Kevin Tari.

In congratulating them on their appointment, Minister Warsal said their role is to assist the Government and the Ministry of Justice in executing the terms of reference of CoI independently and impartially.

The members of the Commission have 90 days to conduct their investigation and file their report to the relevant authorities.

Vanuatu Daily Post
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