Vanuatu Agriculture Development Bank board sacked

The Vanuatu Government has sacked the entire executive and board of the Vanuatu Agriculture Development Bank due to alleged misappropriation of funds.

The Minister of Finance and Economic Management, Johnny Koanapo, says the Government acted to clean up the bank’s operations following an audit report.

“There are a number of issues that an external auditor has identified in the area of payouts [to board members] which are very questionable,” Minister Koanapo said.

“They involve an excessive amount of money that the bank’s board has paid to some board members.

“The question is whether or not these members were entitled to receive the payouts and this is a question we will be seeking further legal advice on.

“The payments include two apparently excessive payouts made by management to its members that the Government, as a shareholder, was unaware of.”

VBTC received confirmation that this afternoon, the Government is appointing administrators to the bank and has issued termination letters to the its executive and board.

“Because of this situation, I come today to announce that the regulator is engaging an administrator to take control of the bank’s transition,” Minister Koanapo said.

“The Government has frozen loans from the bank over the past week, but now, services will continue for people wishing to obtain loans from the bank.

“Due to the serious nature of the issues that have been raised, every administrative payment of the bank is now under suspicion.

“However, I assure everyone, especially the bank’s customers that the banks loans and repayment services continue.

“When the government takes control of the situation in the coming weeks, we will insert one billion vatu into the bank, to ensure the public can borrow money at the rate previously announced in Government policies.

The Finance Minister said the Government has appointed a new board for the bank.

The bank was established in 2006 to support the economic development of the Vanuatu’s resources, including in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, livestock, manufacture and tourism.

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