Vila Times

Opposition: anyone can be a Vanuatu Trade Commissioner for VT6.5 mln in cash

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The Office of the Opposition in its new statement says they have received a service agreement between Vanuatu Property and Migration Services (VPMS) and a Michael Kalmet, for VPMS to facilitate the appointment of Mr. Kalmet, referred to as the client, as a Vanuatu Trade Commissioner.

The agreement also says VPMS will act as liaison between the client and the Government of Vanuatu, and will help to acquire appropriate documentation to enable the client in performing his duties.

The document lists the commencement of the agreement to its execution date. The client will upon execution of the agreement pay VPMS VT6.5 mln in cash.

The said agreement is signed between Camren Sam representing VPMS; the client, Mr. Michael Kalmet; and witnessed by Mr. George Iapson, First Political Adviser, Ministry of Trade. Cash payment of Vt6.5 million changes hands with confirmed payment by a Mr. Michel Sogari, representing AFIC.

Deputy Prime Minister Joe Natuman has responded to the Opposition’s queries, stating this to be a scam and that disciplinary action will be levied on any political staff involved in this transaction.

In its statement the Office of the Opposition puts a number of questions to the government: who owns “Vanuatu Property and Migration Services (VPMS)”?; Since when has the Government appointed a private company to represent the Government’s interest in sourcing out potential “Trade Commissioners”?; Has the Government appointed VPMS as its preferred facilitator in appointing “Trade Commissioners”?; Why was the 1st Political Adviser to the Minister of Trade Joe Natuman a witness to the Service Agreement?