Tongan found guilty of making false statement over passport

Taufa Fevaleaki whose name was blacklisted from flying out of Tonga was found guilty of making a false statement, when applying for a Tongan passport on a second name in 2014.

The accused who was charged with six counts was only convicted on one count of making the false statement, when he applied for the Tongan passport under the name Sosaia Taufa Finau and failed to provide other names he was known by in his passport application as required.

Mr Justice Cato in his verdict on July 30 said the case was unusual.

"He gave evidence, and it also quickly emerged at the hearing when Immigration and Justice officers were questioned, that the accused maintained that his family had provided him with two names although the name he had mostly used and been known as was Taufa Fevaleaki."

The judge said the evidence from an officer at the Ministry of Justice said there were in existence two authentic birth records for both names.

The accused obtained an earlier passport R01574 in the name of Taufa Fevaleaki in 2002 and had travelled quite extensively on this between 2005-2011.

However, on March 18, 2012, a no fly order had been placed against him because of a court hearing relating to maintenance payments. This passport had not been cancelled but expired in February 2015.

The stop order meant that he could not use this to depart from Tonga, which led him to apply for a second passport in the name of Sosaia Taufa Finau which he made application for on June 12, 2014, and signed.

The judge said although all the details were filled out as personal details in the first part of the form that related to personal identity, a box that related to other names you are known by was not completed.

His motivation was plainly to obtain a passport under his second name and it is also plain beyond any reasonable doubt, in my view, that he signed this application knowing full well that it was incomplete and accordingly false because he was known as Taufa Fevaleaki, he said.

"The accused deliberately failed to include this information because he knew this would likely lead to the discovery that he was the possessor of a passport under that name and that he had been placed on an alert of blacklist for flying out of Tonga.

He will be sentenced on September 7.