Two weeks ago, Vanuatu's Speaker of the House caused a constitutional crisis by abusing his powers as acting president to purportedly pardon himself and 13 other MPs who had been convicted of bribery. The pardons were quickly revoked, and yesterday the country's Supreme Court found that they were illegal and the revocations were valid. And today, the Speaker and his fellow corrupt MPs were sentenced for their crime:
Vanuatu's Speaker Marcellino Pipite has been sentenced to three years in jail following his conviction on bribery charges.
He is among 15 MPs being sentenced in the Supreme Court in the Vanuatu capital Port Vila today
Justice Mary Sey is delivering her judgement to a packed court room.
The deputy Prime Minister Moana Carcasses has been sentenced to four years and a former Prime Minister Serge Vohor has been sentenced to three years.
[The different number of MPs is because one MP who plead guilty was not pardoned]
The sentence means that these MPs will lose their seats. Vanuatu will therefore be facing either 15 by-elections, or a snap general election.