Vanuatu Continues to Stand Up to Corruption

May 4, 2016

Mr. John Ezra, Policy Analyst under the Prime Minister’s Office and participant at the Integrity and Anti-Corruption Policy Workshop (Photo: UNDP)

Port Vila, Vanuatu: Senior Government Officials met in the capital, Port Vila today to discuss recent anti-corruption measures taken by Vanuatu and efforts that could be taken to further strengthen measures, including having a National Anti-Corruption Policy.

Supported by the United Nations Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-PRAC) Project, the Integrity and Anti-Corruption Policy Workshop was spearheaded by the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Justice and Community Service, with participants from the Ombudsman’s and Land Ombudsman’s Offices, State Law Office, Vanuatu Law and Public Service Commissions, and the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Statistics, Education, Public Works, Local Authorities and Forestry, and the Customary Land Management Office. 

In opening the workshop, Director-General of the Ministry of Justice and Community Services, Mr. Mark Bebe, noted the impacts of Corruption on all citizens and sectors in Vanuatu. He further highlighted that Justice is not for some but for all, as illustrated in the recent bribery case involving 14 Members of Parliament.

“Leaders must lead by example and … must avoid conflicts of interest, such as by not using his or her Office for personal gain. There should be no doubt in the public mind that all duties are carried out in the public interest,” said Mr. Bebe.

UN-PRAC has been working in 14 Pacific Island countries, including closely with Vanuatu, in implementing the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), including specific support on the Right to Information (RTI) Bill, to the RTI Unit and the Public Accounts Committee of the Vanuatu Parliament.

“Vanuatu has set an example for the Pacific region and internationally, in particular with its recent bribery case – other countries are looking up to Vanuatu. However, this workshop highlights that the Government is committing to furthering its efforts to prevent and fight corruption, in particular considering future reforms,” said Ms. Annika Wythes, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Anti-Corruption Adviser, UN-PRAC Project.

“An Anti-Corruption Policy has been approved and will also form part of the Sustainable Development Plan where it has received a policy directive. We further look forward to the passing of the RTI Bill by Parliament,” said Mr. John Ezra, Policy Analyst under the Prime Minister’s Office.

On Friday 6 May, there will be Anti-Corruption celebrations in Port Vila, including the “Walk against Corruption” and an opening address by the Prime Minister Charlot Salwai.

The Australian Government is supporting the UN Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-PRAC) Project, a four-year US $4.3m project in the 15 Pacific nations being implemented by UNODC-UNDP.

Contact information

Emily Moli, UNDP Knowledge Communications Analyst, tel: (679) 3227 504; email: emily.moli@undp.org  

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