Investigation into alleged misappropriation of AVL funds begins

The Vanuatu Police Force has begun Investigations into allegations of misappropriation of funds at the government-owned Airports Vanuatu Limited.

Details of the allegations is not known, but in December last year then Minister of Finance andĀ Economic Management (MFEM) Maki Simelum, when answering questions in Parliament, put the figure of misappropriated funds at around VT29 million.

Some of the AVL staff who were accused of misappropriation and were terminated by the previous board of directors under the previous Board of Directors have been reinstated through a court order. The Supreme Court found their dismissal was unlawful as it did not comply with necessary requirement processes.

This special police investigating team is specially task to investigate formal complaint that is now in the hands of the Vanuatu Police Force.

The investigation now brushes aside skepticism from members of the public that the lodgment of the official complaint with the Vanuatu Police Force on the mismanagement issue at AVL may never eventuate during the term of the current coalition government. They have now grasped the assurance of the Acting Police Commissioner, Fake Rakau that it is not the Prime Minister, nor the deputy prime minister or himself as commissioner that demands this investigation but rather it is the law of this country that demands this investigation.

Acting Commissioner Fake said the Police investigating team will be working closely with the Public Prosecutions Office during the cause of the investigation to ensure the case is brought before the court.

He also called on members of the public for their cooperation and support in enabling the investigation to be completed as soon as practical.

The investigation was launched this morning in a ceremony that saw acting Commissioner, Fake Rakau presenting the complaint file to the leader of the investigating team at the Vanuatu Police Force Headquarters at Vansec House.

Harold Obed-Tahun