Public Report on the National Bank of Vanuatu former Board members’ trip to Fiji on 17th – 24th October, 1995 - September 10, 1997 - Emalus Campus
The National Bank of Vanuatu (NBV) is a Government owned institution. A Board of Directors is appointed by the Minister of Finance. The General Manager is the chief executive officer. On September 25, 1995, the NBV Board decided to go to Fiji to visit the National Bank of Fiji (NBF). The General Manager Mr. Hymak knew at the time that the NBF was suffering from a financial crisis and that it was not a good time to visit. This was also common international news. In any event, at no time either before or during the trip did anyone contact the NBF about the trip. Four Board members, Mr. Bongnaim, Mr. Arusiro, Mr. Esau and Mr. Maliu together with the General Manager, Mr. Hymak travelled to to Fiji where they spent a week. On the day after their arrival, they held an extraordinary meeting at which they approved an increase in their daily allowance from 5,000 vatu to 12,000 vatu. This was in addition to the cost of accommodation which was extended to cover numerous expenditures on food, alcohol, telephone calls and cigarettes. The group took sight seeing tours and had a beach party in Fiji. No useful work was performed, no meeting with the NBF took place and no report regarding the trip was ever made and no justification for the trip was apparent. The Board originally budgeted 1 million vatu for the trip but spent approximately 1.5 million vatu. The general manager Mr. Hymak lost his luggage and was reimbursed from NBV funds with $US200. He did not bother to complete forms for the search and retrieval of his luggage. The group had plane tickets to return from Suva to Nadi but instead took the bus. They did not return the air tickets or reimburse the NBV for them.
The General Manager and Board members breached their specific duties and breached the Leadership Code.
· That the Board members and the General Manager reimburse the NBV for the costs of the trip incurred at the expense of the NBV.
· That Messrs, Bongnaim, Maliu, Arusiro, Esau and Hymak should never be appointed again to any Governmental or statutory institution and that they should be removed from any such position they currently hold.
· That future appointments to the NBV Board take into account requirements relating to qualifications and experience.
Written by Edward R. Hill
UNDP Governance and Accountability Project
© Ombudsman of Vanuatu
Published here by University of the South Pacific, School of Law Web Site - www.vanuatu.usp.ac.fj