Mr. Sanick Asang. Photo: File

A winning candidate from the Malekula Constituency, Sanick Asang, was declared eligible and contested the Snap Election despite still serving a suspended sentence.

The Director of Vanuatu Correctional Services, Johnny Marango, has confirmed the former Member of Parliament (MP) and now MP-elect, is still serving a suspended sentence.

Assang was sentenced on the 11th of August 2021, after he pleaded guilty to two charges of domestic violence (Counts 1 and 2) under the Family Protection Act, and one charge of breaching the Leadership Code Act [CAP 240] by failing to comply with and observe the law (Count 3).

The Leadership Code applied as Mr. Asang was an MP then and the Third Deputy Speaker of Parliament, thus he had the additional obligations imposed on him by the Leadership Code and the Constitution.

Accordingly, on that date, (August 11, 2021), the Supreme Court declared that the end sentences be suspended for two years.

At that time, the court further warned Assang that he must remain offence-free for the next two years, or he will need to serve his sentences of imprisonment in addition to the penalty that may be imposed on him for the further offending.

Section 24 (1, b) of “The Representation of the People Act [CAP 146]” on Eligibility of candidates clearly stipulates: “Subject to section 23 a person shall be eligible to stand as a candidate for election to Parliament if he has not received a sentence, including a suspended sentence of a term or terms of imprisonment which has not ended.”

According to official election results, Mr. Asang, a National United Party (NUP) candidate has secured the fifth seat in the Malekula constituency.