Attempted transfer of 5 state assets illegal: Gov’t
The First Political Advisor to the Prime Minister, Richard Kaltongga, said the government will no longer tolerate the defrauding of the state by individuals through the sale of public assets without going through proper approvals and government tender processes.
Kaltongga said that the Council of Ministers has already passed a resolution in decision 60 of 2010 that there will be no more sale of state owned assets and a letter was again sent to the Minister of Lands at the end of last year to instruct that the sale of state owned lands be suspended and frozen indefinitely.
The minister of lands was also instructed to seek resources to buy back some of the important state owned lands, according to Kaltongga.
“Despite the instructions and Council of Ministers decision, the Prime Minister’s Office has been advised recently within this year of attempts that are being made to transfer five government housing properties to private interests.
“The public is advised that such acts constitute an attempt to defraud the state of these assets and will not be tolerated by this Government,” Kaltongga stated.
The Public Service Department Housing Unit has been asked to provide all the relevant information to the Police Fraud Squad whose job it will be to investigate and determine whether crimes have been committed, he said.
“The Prime Minister’s Office would like to advise that Government assets such as land and housing are the responsibility of the Public Service Commission Housing Section under the Prime Minister’s Office. These assets are managed by this office as assets of the people of Vanuatu.
“Should there be any suspicions that certain individuals have collaborated to defraud the Government and the nation of Vanuatu of its assets, appropriate evidence will be submitted to the Public Service Commission for disciplinary action and appropriate proceedings will be lodged against those identified as being responsible,” Kaltongga said.
Some of the government properties that have been identified as being sold recently included the land opposite the Ministry of Public Utilities as well as the vacant plot opposite Chew Store.
There have been instances in the past where politicians and members of parliament were allegedly involved in the sale of state property and no serious action was taken against them.