Vanuatu Deputy PM

Vanuatu Deputy PM fends off booze claims

Ishmael Kalsakau has himself been accused of attending a parliamentary induction workshop before the ordinary session of parliament under the influence of alcohol

Mr Kalsakau said it was a pestilent response by the opposition to his claims that Transparency International had previously a voice to highlight abuses of power by ministers.

"The only response that could come back from the opposition was that I was drunk, without making an enquiry as to whether I was drinking and how much I'd been drinking.

Bob Loughman Vanuatu's new deputy PM

Mr Natuman resigned last week after receiving a letter from the Speaker of Parliament barring him from entering parliament.

Mr Natuman was given a two year suspended sentence in March after earlier pleading guilty to a charge of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

He had no immediate plans to step aside, but the Speaker, Esme Saemon, declared his seat vacant and urged him to seek clarification from the courts.

Like Mr Natuman, Mr Loughman is a member of the Vanua'aku Pati for Tanna.

Case to answer for Natuman in conspiracy trial

Joe Natuman and the former police commissioner, Aru Maralau, are on trial in the Supreme Court, accused of trying to pervert the course of justice.

Mr Natuman is accused of trying to stop a police team from investigating high-ranking officers, including Mr Maralau, when he was prime minister in 2014.

But their lawyer, Nigel Morrison, sought to have the case dismissed, arguing that the prosecution did not establish that there was any criminal intent to interfere.