Jail for Vanuatu lawmakers who pardoned selves


WELLINGTON: A group of Vanuatu lawmakers who tried to overturn their own bribery convictions with hastily issued pardons were reportedly jailed Thursday for up to four years. The 14 lawmakers, including Deputy Prime Minister Moana Carcasses and parliamentary speaker Marcellino Pipite, were sentenced in Port Vila’s Supreme Court, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Radio New Zealand International said. The constitutional crisis began on October 9, when the 14 lawmakers were convicted on bribery charges. President Baldwin Lonsdale was overseas at the time and Pipite, using his powers as acting president, issued pardons for himself and his co-conspirators, arguing it was for the good of the country. But an angry Baldwin overturned the pardons on his return, vowing in a televised address “to clean up the mess. Most of the parliamentarians were arrested and the courts this week said Pipite’s actions were unconstitutional.



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