The Ombudsman of the Republic of Vanuatu, Mr Hamlison Bulu is reminding all persons classified as Leaders pursuant to Article 67 of the Constitution and section 5 of the Leadership Code Act, and other Acts of Parliament to file their 2022 annual returns before the 1st of March 2023 to avoid further legal consequences.

Ombudsman Bulu during one of his press conferences at the Ombudsman Office.

The Supreme Court of the Republic of Vanuatu last year sentenced 3 persons classified as Leaders to pay fines of 400,000 vatu for failing to file their annual returns and 8 persons classified as Leaders to pay 300,000 vatu each for filing their annual returns later than the grace period of 14 days given to them after the 1st of March.

Ombudsman Bulu stressed that while filing of annual returns is important it is also mandatory to file correct and truthful information as filing false is also a breach of the Leadership Code Act and its consequences can be more serious than failure to file annual returns.

The Office of the Ombudsman will continue to ensure all Leaders who have not filed their annual returns along with those who have filed false information on their annual returns are being prosecuted in court for breaches of section 33 of the Leadership Code Act in future.