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Government suspends General Manager of VNPF
Mounting pressure from angry members of the Vanuatu National Provident Fund over what they label as nepotism and misuse of their money to pay the General Manager an alleged amount of Vt700, 000 per month, has forced the Government to suspend Anniva Tarilongi, along with the Human Resource Manger, Nadia Kanegai and five other senior members of her Management Team.
Finance Minister Moana Carcasses made the confirmation to approximately 500 angry members of the Fund yesterday afternoon.
The members of the VNPF filled the Chiefs Nakamal to present the Minister of Finance, Moana Carcasses a three-point petition in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade, Ham Lini, Chairman of the VNPF Simil Johnson and the Director Generals General Semion Athy of the Prime Minister’s Office and George Bogiri of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and other senior politicians and public servants over the plight of the VNPF.
The petition was prepared by a group of Fund members led by Chief John Roy of Tongoa who has to be commended for calming the members down in the nakamal.
The petition demanded the immediate suspension of VNPF General Manager, Anniva Tarilongi, and the other main players in the saga named by the media, an Independent investigation into the affair the result of which to be made public before parliament meets on August 24 and for the Government to call a public meeting with members to brief them of an amendment to the VNPF Act before August 24.
The Minister of Finance received the petition and assured them that the GM is already under suspension, the report will be made public and a public meeting will take place before parliament meets.
The Government allowed members to ask the Minister of Finance direct questions concerning their savings that the VNPF is empowered by the VNPF Act to look after.
Among the many questions asked by members, one of the questions that the Minister welcomed came from Hilda Lini who suggested for members of the Fund to be consulted for their views first before the Fund invest their money in commercial buildings or cattle farming or real estate.
Meanwhile a planned protest by members yesterday morning could not take place after police removed the two banners that were tied to the security fence of the VNPF Building.
Peace prevailed after approximately 200 members gradually listened to their chiefs and Police Chief Inspector Pierre Carlot and his officers and dispersed.
The crowd became angry after finding that the two banners posted on the security wall were removed by the police.
Both banners carried the heading, “Stopem corruption long VNPF” (Stop corruption in VNPF).
Demands on the banners include the call for an increase of the interest of the members savings, all retired workers to know the total amount of interests they have in their savings, suspend all former TVL staff from VNPF and appoint an independent audit and ask why the newly appointed staff have high salaries.
On Monday afternoon, a joint emergency meeting between the Vanuatu Christian Council, Vanuatu National Council of Chiefs, Port Vila Town Council of Chiefs and the Efate Vaturisu Council of Chiefs demanded the Government to suspend the General Manager of the Vanuatu National Provident Fund, Mrs Anniva Tarilongi with immediate effect, along with all her officers who she recruited under her new Management.
This is the first time in the 32–year history of the country for all the churches and chiefs institutions to meet to discuss one common concern because all the institutions’ leaders have come to realise the explosive situation facing the people in Port Vila.
In their urgent letter to the Minister of Finance, Mr Moana Carcasses the church leaders and chiefs all stressed the call for peace and unity and stability saying the Government must suspend the VNPF new Management Team to calm threats of a second riot after the first one was staged by angry members of the Fund in 1998
But in his letter to the Chairman of the VNPF Board, Simil Johnson, the Minister of Finance wrote the letter to suspend the GM at two o’clock on Monday afternoon even before the VCC and Chiefs made the urgent call demanding her resignation to defuse the highly explosive situation.