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Vanuatu revokes pardons for MPs

October 16, 2015 12:55 am

Vanuatu’s president Baldwin Lonsdale has revoked the pardons granted to 14 government MPs convicted of bribery.

Lonsdale said parliamentary speaker Marcellino Pipite breached Vanuatu’s constitution and used presidential powers to pervert the course of justice.

ABC News reports Pipite, who was acting president on the weekend, used his interim executive powers to pardon himself and 13 other MPs, including deputy Prime Minister Moana Carcasses.

They were due to be sentenced on October 22.

The president said Pipite acted before the MPs had been sentenced and a pardon only applies to people who have been sent to jail.

The controversial pardon has led to a political crisis and sparked anger among anti-corruption activists.

Under Vanuatu’s constitution, the speaker acts as president when the latter is travelling overseas.