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Bail granted for 11 Vanuatu MPs

Bail  has been granted today for the 11 MPs and three lawyers arrested and remanded into custody last Friday for charges of suspicion to defeat the course of justice.

The Members of Parliament are Marcellino Pipite, Paul Telukluk, Thomas Laken, Silas Yaten, Tony Nari, John Amos, Arnold Prasad, Tony Wright, Sebastien Harry, Jean-Yves Chabot and Jonas James.

The lawyers that were detained are Robin Kapapa, Gregory Takau and Wilson Iauma.

The Supreme Court had convicted Pipite and others for accepting bribes amounting to 35 million Vatu (US$9,000) from the opposition to support a vote of no confidence that toppled the former Prime Minister Joe Natuman.

The group, which includes deputy prime minister Moana Carcasses, are due to be sentenced on Thursday and face a maximum of 10 years in jail.

Meanwhile, an anti-corruption march planned for today in the Vanuatu capital Port Vila has been postponed following the arrest of 11 MPs on Friday.

Vanuatu Women Against Crime and Corruption was given a permit for the march but a spokesperson Jenny Ligo said they postponed the protest because police have had their hands full since Friday trying to secure peace and order in the country.

Prime Minister Sato Kilman has appealed for calm following the MPs' arrests on conspiracy charges following their controversial pardoning nearly a week earlier.

Ligo said the people of Vanuatu are confident in the processes being followed but they still plan to voice their concerns at a protest next week.


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