The appointment of the Trade Commissioner to Jerusalem, Israel was “null and void” despite carrying the Minister of Foreign Affairs’ approval.
The confirmation was conveyed by the first Political Advisor to Minister Marc Ati, Mr. Daniel Faivre, who added that the appointment of Norman Ligo to that position did not follow due process.
On May 25, 2020, Ligo received his letter of appointment.
The content of the letter which carried Minister’s signature reads, “After the new government and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade reviewed its international relations and missions, I have great pleasure in informing you that you are appointed to represent Vanuatu as a Trade Commissioner of Vanuatu to Jerusalem, Israel.”
On June 3, 2020 — 10 days after his appointment — Mr. Ligo received another letter from Minister Ati informing him of the revocation of the appointment.
“It has come to light that you and the businesses that you are in control of have numerous court proceedings and this has brought the name of the ministry into disrepute,” the content of the letter stated.
Ati also cautioned Ligo in the letter, “Your appointment is revoked and is null and void. If you continue to use this role, then legal proceedings will be sought against you”.
In response to the issue, Mr. Ligo told Daily Post that he did followed the procedures to apply for the position.
When asked whether the position of interest was advertised, Ligo said “no”, but, he was informed of the vacant position and applied after seeking clarity on “requirements and formalities from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs” prior to dropping his application.
He also informed Daily Post that the Council of Ministers (CoM) approved his name on May 21, 2020.
But Director of Foreign Affairs also confirmed on the day the news of the appointment was published in this newspaper, that he was not aware of the appointment.
Ligo said he accepted the revocation. He also confirmed that there are pending court cases that are related to the business he owns, “but not against him as an individual”.
Minister Ati previously confirmed over a telephone interview on May 29, when he was questioned about the appointment, as the appointment letter was not copied to other officials, as normally practised, that he made the appointment, and as the Minister, he has the power to make such appointments.