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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

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


Fugitives’ Vanuatu Diplomatic Passports Allegedly Valid
Saken ‘brothers’ citizenship in Vanuatu questionable

By Jane Joshua

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Jan. 28, 2013) – Phocea fugitive Pascal Vu Anh Quan Saken and his "brother" Charles Henry Saken, whom Interpol linked with drugs and arms smuggling, have legal and valid citizenship and passports and they are Vanuatu diplomats appointed by Vanuatu’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Documents sighted by Daily Post show that Charles Henry Saken became a Vanuatu citizen on April 16, 2012 (after allegedly spending less than 10 years in Vanuatu as required under Constitution).

Following a Council of Ministers decision he was appointed as Minister Counselor of the Republic of Vanuatu to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), on July 12, 2012.

Pascal Vu Anh Quan Saken became a Vanuatu citizen on November 5, 2010. He was appointed Special Envoy of the Republic of Vanuatu to Lima, Peru effective as of May 30, 2012.

In his CV details Pascal Anh Quan named his place of birth as Boulevard, Efate. Charles Henry had his as Neuilly Sur Seine. Contrary to Quan’s claim, Daily Post was reliably informed both birth certificates of the brothers were issued in Europe.

[PIR editor’s note: Vanuatu’s government, meanwhile, has announced that it will not allow any "shortcuts" to citizenship, and the Citizenship Commission is undergoing reforms in order to correct past issues. New commission members will be appointed by Prime Minister Sato Kilman sometime in the first quarter of 2013. Elsewhere, Kilman’s advisor, Richard Kaltongga, has said the PM’s office has denied involvement in Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot’s trip to Papua New Guinea during which he met with the Sakens.]

The controversial pairs’ acquiring of Vanuatu citizenship enabled them to acquire the green Vanuatu passports after the Passport Office (PO) acted on information from the Citizenship office and MoFA.

Both Sakens’ Passports were issued on July 16, 2012. It was around July 14, 2012 that Pascal Anh Quan arrived in Vanuatu waters on board the Phocea. But between July 14-17 he failed to report the arrival of Phocea to the Director of Customs within 24 hours as required and it was here that it was alleged three Government ministers board the Mega yacht and handed the passports over.

Acting Commissioner of Police (ComPol) Arthur Caulton has questioned Foreign Affairs how Phocea fugitive Saken and his brother still possess Vanuatu diplomatic passports when the PM instructed the cancellation of the passports last year.

Daily Post understands this may be because of a request from the Prime Minister’s office (in 2012) that their nominations as Vanuatu diplomats were yet to be confirmed to the representing countries.

But on the heels of the Foreign Affairs Minister, Alfred Carlot’s, controversial trip to Papua New Guinea (PNG), Foreign Affairs said the Sakens’ two diplomatic passports are valid and genuine as their nominations have been accepted.

This came after PNG Police confiscated their passports as the Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Centre is well aware of the above in particular Interpol on the Sakens’ involvement in drugs and arms.

To revoke a passport now, the Vanuatu Police Service Commission has to ask Foreign Affairs who made the appointment to remove the appointment so the PO can cancel the passport-issuing and cancelling a passport can be done easily but it is something which must be done according to the legal provisions as the status of a person is associated with a passport.

A person who is stripped of his passport is stateless or referred to as an alien which is an international crime and the individuals can sue the governments concerned to incur a huge liability, according to information obtained by Daily Post from government sources.

Since 2010 the PO issued 40 diplomatic passports to foreigners, in 2012 only six diplomatic passports were issued-two of which are acquired by the Sakens, Daily Post was told.

For a person to acquire a diplomatic Passport he or she must meet the requirements listed in Schedule 1 and 2 of the Passport Act, they must have a role and status bestowed by the Vanuatu Government. Their status and roles are given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

When Foreign Affairs appoints and gives them a role and status they are entitle to a diplomatic passport. Once Foreign Affairs ask the Passport Office it runs checks whether or not the individual have a status if they are align with the list in the schedule 1 & 2 in the Passport Act.

The PO had to receive a letter of request from Foreign Affairs before the office can print a diplomatic passport, the conditions required included a complete passport form application, photo, letter of appointment, letter of request from Foreign Affairs and Identity details before they will be issued with a diplomatic passport.

Once complied with the PO prints out the passports and gives them to Foreign Affairs who deliver it to the recipients.

In October 2012 minister Carlot told Daily Post he never appointed Pascal Quan Saken ambassador to Peru and USA and Department of Foreign Affairs officials verified that documents on the appointment produced by then secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office, Richard Kaltongga were forged- without Foreign Affairs letterheads.

This prompted minister Carlot to ask Police to investigate Mr. Kaltongga.

Vanuatu Daily Post: http://www.vanuatudaily.com
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