Public Report on the alleged breaches of the Leadership Code by John William Timakata (Former Public Prosecutor) - December 28, 1999 -  Emalus Campus

Public Report on the alleged breaches of the Leadership Code by John William Timakata (Former Public Prosecutor) - December 28, 1999


The investigation  was conducted as a result of allegations that Mr. John Timakata obtained a new Vanuatu passport in order to travel to New Zealand and avoid being arrested there in relation to an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

The investigation revealed that in 1994, John Timakata, while a student at Waikato University in New Zealand and prior to being appointed Public Prosecutor of Vanuatu was charged with the criminal offence of injuring with intent in New Zealand.   This allegation  related to the assault of a female student at Waikato University.  Mr. Timakata  failed to appear in court to answer the charge and a warrant in New Zealand was issued for his arrest.   When Mr. Timakata was appointed Public Prosecutor for Vanuatu in 1996 the warrant in New Zealand was still outstanding.

On September 25, 1997, Mr. Timakata made a statement to the police claiming to have lost his passport.  He also made an application for a new passport in the name of Matarki Tion (John) William; not the name on the passport that was allegedly lost.  A new passport was issued in the new name.  On October 18, 1997, Mr Timakata travelled to New Zealand using his new passport.

The Passport Act makes it an offence to wilfully make a false statement for the obtaining of a passport.   

In December 1997, Mr. Timikata resigned as Public Prosecutor in response to calls from The Minister of Justice, Father Walter Lini for him to do so.  At no time had Mr. Timakata been registered as a legal practitioner in Vanuatu.

It was concluded that Mr. Timakata, in serving as the Public Prosecutor demeaned the position of Public Prosecutor and breached the Leadership Code by continuing to evade a criminal prosecution in New Zealand.  Further Mr. Timakata’s conduct, in applying for a passport in a different name brought his own integrity into question and diminished respect for the Government of Vanuatu.

·       That the Judicial Service Commission ask Mr. Timakata to submit himself to the justice system in New Zealand in relation to the outstanding warrant.

·       That Mr. Timakata not be allowed to hold any public post in Vanuatu until he is cleared of the charge against him in New Zealand.

·       That the Law Council should not admit Mr. Timakata to the practice of law in Vanuatu until the charge against him in New Zealand is resolved.


Written by Edward R. Hill
UNDP Governance and Accountability Project
January, 2001
© Ombudsman of Vanuatu
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