FINALLY, SOMETHING CONCRETE is going to be done to tighten the use of government vehicles. Transparency International Vanuatu has, for a long time, voiced concerns over the misuse of government vehicles which has caused humongous unnecessary spending’s.
It is, without doubt, that the misuse of government vehicles is currently one of the most common forms of corruption that is practiced daily. Sadly, it has become so familiar that it has somehow become an acceptable behavior, yet it continuous to drain out public funds.
Evidently, the purchase and maintenance of new government vehicles has continued to go over the budgeted funds. Millions and millions of vatu has been spend on unbudgeted government vehicles and fuel, thus pulling out financial resources that could be spend where they are needed the most.
The Vanuatu Public Service Manual describes clearly examples of the misuse government vehicle; these are just a few of the activities that are regarded as offences and are liable for punishment; using government vehicles for shopping without permission from authorities, using government vehicles to go drink kava and several more.
Furthermore, there is an application form that public servants can use to request to use vehicles. However, if the vehicle is spotted at a location not stated in the application form then it must be reported to the Public Service Commission and to be dealt with accordingly.
According to the Public Service Manual a public officer must not use a vehicle belonging to the Government without appropriate authority, anyone who commits this act without appropriate authority may be; a) issued with a penalty notice by the Commission of up to 20,000; b) convicted of an offence in Court with a penalty of up to 20,000 VT; c) disciplined by the Commission (which may include dismissal for cause if the Commission considers that it constitutes serious misconduct).
Transparency International Vanuatu wishes to congratulate Minister Jotham Napat for this very important initiative, it is definitely positive news for everyone. Once implemented it would be a breakthrough for transparency and accountability with regards to the use of government vehicles in Vanuatu.