Vanuatu Supreme Court

Supreme Court strikes out petition by former Vanuatu PM Kilman

Kilman had filed submissions for urgent relief on Wednesday, October 11.

His counsel argued that the challenge by now Prime Minister Charlot Salwai was unlawful because he did not secure the required 27 signatures for a vote of no-confidence.

However, the Speaker Seoule Simeon had contended that since there was a seat vacant at the time the motion of no confidence was deposited, only 26 signatories were required.

Late on Friday, Judge Edwin Goldsbrough said that the former prime minister had "no arguable case".

Construction of Vanuatu’s new Supreme Court building begins

In his speech, the Prime Minister of Vanuatu , Bob Loughman said… “The building should have the dignity that reflects its status as the holder of the nation’s greatest ideals, but it should also be practical in design to allow those who work or are called before it, to carry out their functions in as harmonious a way as possible.”

Former Vanuatu PM and MPs referred to Supreme Court

Mr Salwai will appear on 1st September alongside former cabinet ministers, Matai Seremaiah and Jerome Ludvaune as well as former Tafea Outer MP Tom Korr.

If they plead not guilty there will be trial.

Mr Salwai has also been charged with perjury.

This morning a senior magistrate declared she was satisfied there is prima facie case for the four defendants to answer before the Supreme Court.

The current Minister of Education and Training, Seule Simeon, was also originally a defendant but charged were dropped after he became a prosecution witness.

Vanuatu court changes PM's bail, allowing him to travel from Efate

The group, including prime minister Charlot Salwai, face charges including bribery and perjury that stem from a controversy around parliamentary secretary positions.

They appeared in the Magistrates Court in Port Vila on Tuesday, where they were granted bail until their next court appearance on 17 March - two days before the election.

But their bail conditions prohibited them from leaving the main island, Efate, until that court appearance, which would have made campaigning difficult in a country of 80 islands.

Former Vanuatu senior civil servant found guilty of money laundering

Rory is alleged to have misused over 14 million vatu, when he was principal aid negotiator in the Prime Minister's Office.

The Supreme Court heard that the funds were from the European Union and were allocated to support development projects in Vanuatu.

VBTC News reports Rory will reappear in court on 24 April for sentencing.


Vanuatu Supreme Court rules in favour of opposition

Judge Dudley Aru ruled that the motion is in order and will be heard on 4 December.

He said the court could not interfere with parliamentary matters unless required to do so.

The Daily Post newspaper reported that politicians and their supporters who packed the court room spilled out with smiling faces after the ruling.

The Leader of Opposition Ishmael Kalsakau welcomed the ruling and said the case should not have dragged on this far.


Vanuatu pastor gets light sentence for indecency

The pastor who was also a plumber, did some work at the victim's house and was offered water to drink and a towel to wipe his hands when the incident happened.

Justice Daniel Fatiaki said the pastor could have been jailed for the maximum 10 years but because he was the sole bread winner for his family, including five children, he had co-operated police and also made an early guilty plea, the sentence was reduced.

The Daily Post reports the judge also made mention of a custom ceremony with the victim and her family.

Vanuatu court removes land leases from govt staff

In 2017, the appeal court ruled that the minister had acted outside his legal powers when he instructed the Director of Land to give the staff the leases.

The Attorney General then applied for a judicial review of the case.

Since then, two of the 13 staff have filed statements to distance themselves from the leases.

Mr Kalsakau has also admitted he erred in his decision.

Justice Andrée Wiltens ruled that all 13 land leases be cancelled and removed from the Department of Land's records.



MSG immune from suit: Vanuatu Supreme Court

MSG and Director General, Ambassador Amena Yauvoli who are both claimants of the Civil Case 345 of 2017, were untouchable by the Vanuatu Supreme Court because Vanuatu as the host country of the MSG Secretariat had signed an agreement with the MSG.

Article 5 of the agreement stated that “1. The Secretariat shall be immune from suit and legal process and its premises, archives and property shall be inviolable”, according to a Vanuatu Daily Post report.

Commonwealth assists Vanuatu Supreme Court

Like many small states, Vanuatu faces distinct challenges owing to its small size, geographical isolation, high cost of public services and limited pool of professional expertise. This impacts on judicial delivery, particularly institutional capacity.

Cybelle Cenac, a Saint Lucian/British lawyer was deployed by the Commonwealth for 18 months as the Master or Associate Judge of the Supreme Court to introduce new procedures in the capital, Port Vila.