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Former Vanuatu Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for Pentecost, Charlot Salwai has appealed the Supreme Court sentence on the charge of perjury, which was delivered on 03 February, 2021.
MP Salwai is appealing his suspended sentence of 2 years and 3 months, which was delivered by the Supreme Court Judge, Gustaaf Andrée Wiltens.
Salwai’s defense counsel from Yahwa and Associates, lodged the appeal in respect of count 11 of the amended criminal case Public Prosecutor Vs Salwai and Others.
Count 11 is perjury, contrary to section 75 of the Penal Code [CAP 135].
When delivering Salwai’s sentencing on 03 February, Justice Wiltens stated that from the evidence, in April 2019, Salwai was fully aware that his sworn statement contained assertions of fact that were incorrect.
There had been no Council of Ministers approval to the various appointments and variations made by him as Prime Minister.
Justice Wiltens pointed out Salwai included the assertion three times to enhance the defense to the Constitutional application, which sought to have the post of Parliamentary Secretary declared unconstitutional.
“He was looking to the Court to validate the appointments,” Wiltens said.
“By providing untrue information, Salwai intended to mislead the Supreme Court.
“He intended that the Supreme Court accept his assertions, thereby hoping to add credence to the validity of the appointments as having the approval not just of the Prime Minister but also the Council of Ministers.”
MP Salwai is still a Member of Parliament, in accordance with the Members of Parliament (Vacation of Seat) Act, (3)(1) which states; “Provided that the Speaker, or in his absence, the Deputy Speaker, may at the request of the member from time to time extend that period for further periods of 30 days to enable the member to pursue any appeal in respect of his conviction, or sentence, so however that extensions of time exceeding in the aggregate 150 days shall not be granted without the approval of Parliament signified by resolution.
SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST/PACNEWS
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