Link: Pacific Islands Report
Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Vanuatu ‘Fugitive’ Diplomat Denounces PNG Trip Allegations
Saken claims he was in country to speak with US official

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 24, 2013) – A Vanuatu diplomatic passport holder, Pascal Anh Quan Saken, says Papua New Guinea’s opposition spread unfounded rumors about his visit to Port Moresby last week.

Mr. Saken, who says he owns the super yacht Phocea which has been detained in Vanuatu since July due to false documentation, became the subject of a police and customs investigation while in Port Moresby.

PNG officials briefly detained his passport after the private plane he flew in on arrived without proper flight clearance.

Mr. Saken says despite rumors that his plane was carrying contraband and that he was involved in secret meetings, he was only in PNG to talk to the new U.S. Ambassador in the country.

"Those rumors about me are totally ridiculous and very unfair. I’m working very hard to help Vanuatu. I’m using all my networking that I have in Europe and USA in order to help the infrastructure of my country."

[PIR editor’s note: Saken also says the reason he came to PNG was because Carlot, so impressed with his work in Belgium, in a disaster management and energy capacity, wants to implement a similar office in the USA, and the only way for Vanuatu citizens to get USA visas is through PNG. However, the U.S. Embassy in PNG said that Ambassador Walter North did not meet with Saken.]

Pascal Anh Quan Saken says he is the victim of conspiracy theories in the Pacific region.

Mr. Saken was allowed to depart PNG on Sunday night but has still not returned to Vanuatu since the Phocea was originally detained on suspicion of smuggling guns and drugs.

Although he left Vanuatu before he could be questioned in relation to the yacht, Mr. Saken says he has been falsely portrayed as a gangster.

"I’ve been accused of being a gangster, having firearms and drugs on board. Same story for the airplane. Come on, we have to be realistic. If you find a firearm, that is a very, very big allegation... or any illegal substance, you think that for seven months the story will last? No. It would be in court, we would be prosecuted for a very serious offence. There’s nothing of that."

Mr. Saken says he wasn’t able to meet the U.S. Ambassador in PNG as hoped and that he may return to PNG next month.

He also denies reports that the office of Vanuatu Prime Minister Sato Kilman’s revoked his diplomatic passport last September.

Radio New Zealand International:
Copyright 2013 RNZI. All Rights Reserved

Go back to Pacific Islands Report