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Fijian Lawyer Represents Ex-Vanuatu PM

A top Suva lawyer is representing former Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas, in a corruption trial. Lawyer Filimoni Vosarogo is part of the trial via Skype before presiding
28 Nov 2020 11:00
Fijian Lawyer Represents Ex-Vanuatu PM
Filimoni Vosarogo. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

A top Suva lawyer is representing former Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas, in a corruption trial.

Lawyer Filimoni Vosarogo is part of the trial via Skype before presiding Judge, Justice Gus Andree Wiltens, at the Supreme Court in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

He is also representing former Health Minister Jerome Ludvaune and former Parliament Secretary for Fisheries, Tomker Nedvunie.

Former Minister for Agriculture Matai Seremiah is represented by lawyer Nigel Morrison of Vanuatu.

They are charged by the Director of Public Prosecutions for the following charges:

„ Tabimasmas is jointly charged with Seremiah on two counts of corruption and bribery of officials and two counts of bribery.

„ Tabimasmas is also facing two counts of conflict of interest and one count of perjury.

„ Ludvaune is charged with one count of corruption and bribery of officials and one count of bribery.

„ Nedvunie is charged with one count of corruption and bribery of officials and one count of bribery.

 

Charge Details For Corruption And Bribery Of Officials: It is alleged that between November 22 and November 23, 2016, at Port Vila, Tabimasmas and Seremiah corruptly gave or agreed to give a bribe to Ludvaune with the intent to influence him in respect of an act by him in his official capacity as a Member of Parliament.

It is where Tabimasmas allegedly and corruptly offered the position to and appointment of Ludvaune as Minister for Health and Nedvunie as Parliamentary Secretary in the Minister of Fisheries in the Government of Vanuatu in exchange for and with intent to influence their vote in Parliament as a Member of Parliament against the motion of no confidence filed on November 23, 2016.

Seremiah allegedly facilitated the exchange as aforesaid when he conveyed the offer of the position of Minister for Health to Ludvaune and Nedvunie and urged them to withdraw from the motion of no confidence.

It is alleged that Ludvaune and Nedvunie as public officers, on November 23, 2016, corruptly accepted a bribe facilitated by Seremiah and offered by Tabimasmas for them in respect of an act to be done or omitted by them in their official capacity in exchange for the withdrawal of their signature from the motion.

 

Charge Details For Bribery: Tabimasmas and Seremiah are alleged to have in their capacity as leaders, corruptly offered to give a benefit to Ludvaune and Nedvunie.

It is alleged that Tabimasmas as the Prime Minister corruptly offered the position and appointed Ludvaune as Minister for Health and Nedvunie in the Vanuatu Government in exchange for their votes in Parliament as Member of Parliament against the motion filed.

The same was allegedly facilitated by Seremiah when he conveyed the offer of the position of Minister for Health to Ludvaune and Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries to Nedvunie and urged them to withdraw from the motion.

Ledvaune and Nedvunie, as leaders, are alleged to have corruptly received a benefit from Tabimasmas.

Ludvaune and Nedvunie allegedly and corruptly received the position of and were appointed as Minister for Health (Ludvaune) and Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries (Nedvunie) in the Vanuatu Government by Tabimasmas in exchange for the withdrawal of their signatures from the motion.

 

Charge Details For Conflict Of Interest: Tabimasmas, who as the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, is alleged to have had a conflict of interest in the matter when on November 23, 2016, he acted in relation to that matter in a manner that benefitted himself when he appointed Ludvaune as Minister for Health and Nedvunie as Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries in the Vanuatu Government.

 

Charge Details Of Perjury: Tabimasmas is alleged to have made an assertion in an affidavit as to a matter of fact, belief or knowledge in a judicial proceeding as a part of his evidence on oath, such assertion being known to him to be false and being intended by him to mislead the tribunal.

In the civil case in the Supreme Court of Alatoi Ishmael Kalsakau and others v Republic of Vanuatu, Tabimasmas allegedly asserted in a sworn statement dated April 23, 2019, and relied amongst other things on the existence of an approval by the Council of Ministers appointed Parliamentary Secretaries; And that the Council of Ministers’ resolution to approve did not exist and that the fact was known to Tabimasmas, but that he used it, intending that such use to mislead the court.

 

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



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