The excitement about the two high profile inmates that will be released today on parole by the Correctional Services has led to some misconceived information that they were pardoned.
Correctional Services Director, Johnny Marango confirmed yesterday that the release of the two inmates, jailed for corruption, was facilitated independently by the Parole Board without any inputs from the Office of the Head of State.
There is a huge difference between Parole and Pardon according to Vanuatu Laws.
Correctional Services Act of 2016 Part 6 caters for Parole in the Correctional Services.
The Act states that “parole is the period of supervision that an offender is subject to, following release from a Correctional Centre”.
In terms of requirements for parole a “detainee is eligible for consideration by a community parole board for release on parole upon the expiry of a half of his or her sentence”.
The Act also provided that the Parole Board consists of: “a) a Judge of the Supreme Court or a Magistrate of the Magistrates Court who is the chairperson; and (b) two other persons who must be of high standing in the community, one of whom must be a woman.
“(5) The chairperson is to be appointed by the Chief Justice.
“(4) The other Board members are to be appointed by the Minister after consultation with the Director.”
On the other hand Pardon is a power vested only on the President.
Article 38 of the Constitution stated that the “President of the Republic may pardon, commute or reduce a sentence imposed on a person convicted of an offence.
“Parliament may provide for a committee to advise the President in the exercise of this function.”
Mr Marango stated that parole means that the sentencing of the parolees are still alive and the ban set by the court in relation to the leadership code if still active meaning they won’t be able to hold and public office for a period of 10 years.
But it is understood that the inmates upon release can still participate in activities of their political parties.
Meanwhile Mr Marango confirmed that the chief and people of Ifira will be hosting today a welcome ceremony and feast for former Efate Rural MP, Steven Kalsakau.
The same practice of handing over the inmates back to the community by the Correctional Services Department is expected in Santo for prominent politician, Serge Vohor.
He also corrected that the parole board will not be sitting today but around the end of this month.