March 6, 2016

Vanuatu seeks AFP assistance to investigate fire at Niscol

The Government has requested the assistance of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in investigating the fire that razed the Northern Islands Stevedoring Company Limited (NISCOL) Office in Luganville, Santo in the early hours of Saturday, February 20, 2016

A review and investigation of the NISCOL Board, including the above are two other activities in the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ 100 Days Plan.

The three activities fall under the responsibility of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Office of the Prime Minister and Police, while the Ministry of Justice is included in the review of the Board.

Prominent outspoken Sanma leader and politician Kalo Nial, was shocked and could not believe that fire had destroyed the NISCOL office so he got into a cab to go and see for himself that Saturday.

“Today (Saturday, February 20) is one of the saddest day for people concerned in the development of provinces and Vanuatu,” he told Daily Post after seeing for himself that it was true.

“As a concern person, I was hurt. You may ask why. It (NISCOL) is a company that I saw established. I was in the Office of the local government council for Santo/Malo with the council’s president and alongside other leaders, we looked for a source of revenue for the provinces.

“With the help of the government then, we established the company with the help of businessman Dinh Van Than. We, meaning a group of people with the same vision and concern, went as far as Singapore, Mr. Sela Molisa knows this.

“It was through him that some people were contacted to come and manage the company. That did not work out, in the meantime Mr. Dinh Van Than came in and we established the company with Mr. Than and in partnership with all the provinces in the north.”

Mr. Nial said at that time the company was under the management of one person but was paying healthy dividends.

“Under the management of one person, the company was giving us, for instance the Santo/Malo local Government council Vt12 million as dividend.

“Today, a big fuss is made when Vt200-500, 000 dividends are paid. What is that money? where did the NISCOL funds go? We cannot say NISCOL does not make money. It makes money. Millions come in, we only need to manage it.”

Those were the good days and Mr.Than left. After 1991, things changed.

“There were people who ran the company according to their whims. Nobody seemed to care how much money was spend on people other than the ones who are entitled to be paid,” he continued.

“Major political parties entered into power and left and I continued to raise my concerns. No one took action, perhaps because they do not wish to destabilise relationships.

“This is true but mark my words, if we have understanding and a good heart for the people, self-interest should be at the back and the interests and benefits of the people our focus.

“Things that should not be happening happened and dragged on, many today know what is happening in NISCOL.

“People on Santo see people with new vehicles, this and that. God knows how are these funded.

“Where are we today? Are we concerned or do we say the law has given us right to benefit that much? If you think like that, let me remind you that the company was set up, through hard work to generate money for the people in the northern part of Vanuatu, not for individuals.

“Today a new government is in power. It is my sincere hope that after the investigation into the fire and so on, the company will rise with the objective and vision to benefit all the provinces which are shareholders, not to benefit individuals who come in to make Vt200,000 to almost Vt1million a month. Who are you to make money off funds which belong to the people?”

Mr. Nial said NISCOL should be like the Ifira Trust.

“Congratulations Ifira, your people are benefitting from what you are doing,” he said.

“The people of Santo should be doing the same thing. After revitalising the company, do we have honest people to run NISCOL and look for the interests of the people in the northern part of the Vanuatu?”

Vanuatu Daily Post