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Vanuatu deputy PM jailed for four years

October 22, 2015 4:54 am

Vanuatu’s deputy Prime Minister Moana Carcasses has been sentenced to four years in prison for bribery and corruption, joining 13 other MPs — or half of the nation’s government — in prison.

The parliament’s speaker, Marcellino Pipite, who led an unsuccessful attempt to pardon himself and the convicted MPs last week, has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Pipite sparked a constitutional crisis when he pardoned himself and 13 other MPs of corruption charges while he was acting president.

The other MPs, including two former prime ministers, have also been sentenced — Serge Vohor received a three-year sentence, while Carcasses’ four years on multiple counts are to be served concurrently.

Carcasses’ lawyer told local media he will be lodging an appeal against his sentence later today.

Finance minister Willie Jimmy, the only MP to plead guilty to the corruption charges, was given a suspended sentence.

Ahead of the sentencing, Justice Mary Sey called bribery a cancer and denounced the politicians’ actions.