Public report on ordinary passports numbered A004302 to A004305 – November 26, 1999 - Emalus Campus
On March 4, 1997, the Principal Immigration Officer Mr. John Mark Bell gave four passports (numbered A004301 to A004305) to the Office Supervisor in the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr. Noel Faionalave. Mr. Faionalave represented that these passports were requested by the Council of Ministers for a meeting at which the Citizenship Act was to be discussed. Mr. Bell did not request written authorization from Mr. Faionalave for the release of the passports.
One of the passports was returned to the Immigration Office in May by Mr. Kepoue Manwo, Chairman of the Citizenship Commission. However, it had a forged signature on it. In July, Mr Bell wrote to the Prime Minister to inform him that the other passports had not been returned.
Mr. Faionalave represented to a Government Minister that he saw Mr. Manwo and Mr. Noel Tabiusu, Secretary General to the Council of Ministers, dividing 1.5 million vatu from the sale of three passports to a man in Taiwan. He accepted 50,000 vatu from them to keep quiet about this. The passports were still missing at the time of the Ombudsman’s report.
The Ombudsman found that Mr. Faionalave and Mr. Manwo may have breached the Passport Act by removing the passports from the office of the Immigration Officer without signed authority to do so. Mr. Faionalave, Mr. Tabiusu and Mr. Manwo may also have been in breach of several provisions of the Penal Code relating to the improper taking and possession of passports and possession of property obtained by a crime. Mr. Bell improperly issued passports and may have breached the Police Act, by failing to take steps to recover the passports. By placing their integrity in question and endangering the respect for and confidence in the integrity of the Government, Mr. Bell, Mr. Tabiusu and Mr. Manwo breached the Leadership Code.
· That there be a criminal investigation of the conduct of Mr. Faionalave, Mr. Manwo, Mr. Tabiusu and Mr. Bell.
· That Mr. Faionalave, Mr. Manwo and Mr. Tabiusu not hold any position of public office.
· That The Police Service Commission consider a disciplinary action against Mr. Bell.
· That passports numbered A004302 to A004305 be cancelled.
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