Prime Minister Sato Kilman has finally said enough is enough regarding the issuance of illegal Vanuatu citizenships to foreigners and now Police are investigating the Citizenship Commission for alleged irregularities.
Daily Post understands nearly all the newly arrived Chinese in town are Vanuatu citizens although they have not lived in Vanuatu for 10 years, a statutory requirement to be eligible for Vanuatu citizenship.
Two men have been arrested recently by the Vanuatu Police Force and charged with obtaining citizenship by false and misleading statement contrary to section 22 of the Citizenship Act 112.
There are a string of other suspects which Police have not yet arrested and calling on the members of the public to come with information.
Meanwhile the Prime Minister’s Office would like to express serious concerns relating to approval and issuance of Citizenship Permits to people who have not fulfilled the necessary requirements nor satisfied the legal criteria as stated in the Citizenship Act and associated Regulations.
The Prime Minister’s Office understands that investigations are underway and there have been several arrests in order to identify the source of the breaches of the Citizenship Act.
The Prime Minister’s office would like to state that this malpractice has been ongoing for many years and many previous governments and politicians have conveniently turned a blind eye to this malpractice.
Such malpractices by the Citizenship Commission have seen an increase in the influx of foreigners and in many cases they come and compete with Ni-Vanuatu for employment and business opportunities as well as facilities such as available commercial financing support to establish businesses, etc.
It is suspected that many are able to acquire their citizenship permits without fulfilling the requirements of the Citizenship Act such as the requirement to reside in Vanuatu for over 10 years and proper Police clearances or other conditions as stipulated in the regulations by bribing members of the Citizenship Commission.
There is also a suspicion that there may be cases where many new citizens have received their citizenship but have not forfeited their foreign nationality often retaining their original passport whilst being issued with a new Vanuatu passport. For those who may be guilty of such practices - this is a breach of the condition of their citizenship approval.
The moves being taken by the Government are intended to clean up the Citizenship Commission and ensure that in conducting its duties and making its decisions – the Commission and its members are subject to and follow the requirements of the law.
Some new citizens have become proactive and constructive members of our community starting initiatives that have created employment and contributed to the local economy and for these individuals for which questions may arise, measures will be looked at to legitimize their citizenship and put the issue of their citizenship beyond question if they have complied with the requirements of the law and are positive and constructive contributors to our society.
Those identified as being responsible for such malpractices shall be subject to the full process of the Law.
In facilitating and achieving this objective, the Prime Minister’s Office asks that those who have information relating to such malpractices are asked to contact the Police Criminal Investigations Fraud Unit.