The application submitted by the General Manager of the Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF), Mr. Parmod Achary, to permanently stay his criminal prosecution has been dismissed by the Supreme Court.

This application for stay amounted to an attempt to end the case before any evidence is presented in court. Its effect would be that the public would be left in a position of not knowing the full extent of the allegations, nor the evidence that related to them.

“None of the grounds advanced to suggest there has been an unfairness in the process have been established on the balance of probabilities. Further, there is no evidence of any prejudice to Mr. Achary, such that he is unable to have a fair trial.”

The nature of the charges and facts are; (i) Improper influence, contrary to section 48 of the Ombudsman Act.

It is alleged that on August 27, 2019, Mr. Achary obstructed officers of the Ombudsman’s Office in advising VNPF line managers to not provide information to those officers.

(ii) Preservation of Secrecy, contrary to section 28 (1) of the Ombudsman Act.

On August 29, 2019, Mr. Achary allegedly disclosed a copy of a Search Warrant dated August 25, 2019 which related to an Ombudsman’s Office investigation into VNPF mismanagement to Dan McGarry.

Justice Gustaaf Andrée Wiltens said he believed someone other than Mr. Daniel Yawah, who acts for the VNPF GM, had prepared the written submissions.

“I find it difficult to accept that Mr. Yawah drafted them himself. However, Mr. Yawah should have gone through and perfected them before attempting to speak to them in the course of argument. In my judgement, the poor quality of the submissions reflects the paucity of merit in the application,” Wiltens stated.

He said the submissions of Mr. Yawah were largely repetitive and of little moment. “I have not addressed every point as many of them relate to possible defences Mr. Achary has to the charges.

“This decision is not considering the merits of the prosecution case in anyway.”

The case is remitted to the Magistrates Court for trial.