Vanuatu Opposition leader conspiracy complaint filed


Vanuatu leader of Opposition, Ralph Regenvanu, has registered a complaint with the police in Port Vila on alleged conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The complaint was against Prime Minister Bob Loughman, Deputy Prime Minister Ishmael Kalsakau, the Leader of Government Business, Anatole Hymak, Government Whip, Kenneth Natapei, Speaker of Parliament, Seule Simon, Members of Parliament that had their seats vacated, their lawyer, Robert Sugden and the Private Secretary of the Speaker of Parliament, Lionel Kaluat.

Regenvanu’s complaint is also against the leaders on the alleged breaches of the Leadership Code Act.

The complaint is about the alleged attempt by the government MPs to defeat the course of justice through Motion No. 13 that was moved and later withdrawn.

Motion 13 was lodged to “correct” the minutes of Parliament to read that the 32 MPs were in fact present on June 1, 2, and 3.

There was also an alleged attempt to sign Consent Orders and this saw the involvement of the Private Secretary to the Speaker of Parliament and lawyers.

Conspiracy to pervert the course of justice is a crime under the Penal Code [CAP 135] with a maximum sentence of seven years’ imprisonment.

Conspiracy is an agreement, expressed or implied, between two or more persons to do an act, which, if done, even by one person, would constitute a criminal offence.

Section 79 of the Penal Code [CAP 135] sets out what is conspiracy to defeat justice, which is to “Conspire with any other person to do anything to obstruct, prevent, pervert, or defeat the course of justice”.

Regenvanu cited the Supreme Court case of Public Prosecutor vs Marcellino Pipite and Others that identified the elements of the crime as there was an agreement between 2 or more persons, to do an act which constitutes a criminal offence, which act involves preventing or defeating the course of justice and each defendant was a knowing party to that agreement.

To support his complaint, Regenvanu listed the sequence of events such as the motion number 13 deposited by Hymak and Natapei to ask Shadrack to correct and rectify the minutes of parliament.

Shadrack made an announcement on Friday 04June that 28 Members of Parliament from government side were absent and motion 13 was for the word “absent” to be replaced by “present”.

Regenvanu claimed in his complaint that the motion was an attempt to change the material facts of the issue that was to be determined by the Supreme Court.

He said that attempting to change the facts is an attempt to pervert the course of justice.

The leader of Opposition said the fact that there was a mover and a seconder to the motion indicates a conspiracy.

Regenvanu claimed the fact that the Speaker required a vote on the withdrawal of the motion, and the fact that all MPs on the Government side then voted to withdraw the motion after the Supreme Court judgement vacating their seats, indicates they were all alleged participants in the endeavor.

Regenvanu also claimed in his complaint that on 17 June, both Robert Sugden’s secretary and the Speaker’s private secretary allegedly lied to the Attorney General when they informed him that Nigel Morrison had agreed to the proposed consent order.