Former General Manager (GM) of the Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF), Parmod Achary, was given a suspended sentence of 2 years yesterday after being sentenced to 1 year and 6 months’ imprisonment for having been found guilty of Indecency without consent.

Achary was also ordered by the Supreme Court to pay a fine of VT200, 000 to each of the 5 victims within a period of three months, for his failure to comply with and observe the law, and breaching the Leadership Code Act.

The reason for the sentence suspension, as stated by Justice Viran Molisa Trief, is that, although the offending is serious and counts against suspension of sentence, there was no skin-to-skin genitalia contact, Mr. Achary has had 71 years of good character, he has the strong support of his family and community, and his contributions to the community and strong family and community ties favours the sentence suspension.

The maximum sentence provided for Indecency without consent is 7 years’ imprisonment, and for the Breach of Leadership Code Act, it’s either a fine of VT5 million, or 10 years’ imprisonment.

Other mitigating factors that contributed to the end sentence delivered by the court, is the convict’s serious health problems which requires constant monitoring by a health practitioner, and he has no prior convictions, although the court acknowledged that this case of sexual nature is of little migratory value.

In addition to that, he is 71 years old, has 2 adult children, and his family relies on him for their main source of income. He was also referenced to being a good person with a very big heart by prominent members of the community such as Bob Loughman, the current Opposition leader and former Prime Minister, as well as August Letlet, the Director General of Finance and Economic Management, and chairman of the VNPF Board.

Mr. Achary was found guilty by the Supreme Court on June 16 this year, for committing these offences to the 5 complainants who were female employees of VNPF.

He had resigned subsequently, and had received his sentencing yesterday at the Supreme Court in Port Vila. The former VNPF GM has 14 days to appeal his sentence.