Akosita Lavulavu

Jailed Tongan Cabinet Minister resigns

Prime Minister Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa told Parliament Monday that Lavulavu had resigned according to a Kaniva News report.

However, the Speaker, Lord Fakafanua, said he has not yet received any formal letter of resignation.

Parliament was awaiting a response from the government Monday to confirm queries from MPs and the media about Lavulavu’s pay and entitlements.

The Speaker said they relied on information from the Minister of Finance this (Monday) morning telling the House he had used his power under the Finance Acts and ordered her CEO to stop Lavulavu’s payment.

Lavulavus now in Tongatapu's Hu'atolitoli Prison

Jailed for fraud they have lost a bid for bail as they prepare for an appeal in March.

The Lord Chief Justice Michael Whitten denied them bail, ruling he doubted their prospects for success on appeal.

The Lavulavus had run the 'Unuaki 'o Tonga Royal Institute, but falsified the number of students enrolled when applying for vocational education training grants, pocketing the state money the school was sent.

Tonga’s Chief Justice rejects bail application by Lavulavu couple

Kaniva News reports in his 18 pages ruling Mr Whitten said he was not satisfied that Lavulavu “are obvious or even reasonable”.

He said the couple failed to fullfil the requirement by the bail law.

This “leads to the conclusion that, at this time, the Court does not consider it fit to admit them to bail pending their appeal”.

“Accordingly, the applications are refused”.

Tongan cabinet minister convicted of major fraud

They were convicted for using student numbers they knew were false to apply for government grants.

"This is an example of the worst sort of dishonesty," remarked Justice NJ Cooper in his verdict.

"The conduct of these defendants would be disgraceful in anyone, but for a member of cabinet, and a man who used his political connections and position to facilitate these frauds, goes beyond just criminally reprehensible," he said.

Tongan politicians have fraud case deferred

This after they failed to show for a magistrate's court session on Thursday.

The couple have been charged with using a document to defraud in 2017, when they quarried land in Vava'u despite the landowner saying he had not signed a letter giving the Lavulavus' permission to do so.

The leader of the opposition PTOA Party, Semisi Sika, who was Deputy Prime Minister in the previous government, ws one of the witnesses being called.


Outgoing Tongan minister says her force to resign was ‘unconstitutional’

Lavulavu said the constitution says the appointment of a Minister can only be terminated if the king has revoked it after a Vote of No Confidence under clause 50B, or if it was a decision made against them after an impeachment under clause 75, or they became ineligible to hold the office in accordance with the Constitution or any other law.

Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva has dismissed the Vava’u 16 MP on Wednesday 11 after she rejected his advice for her to tender a voluntary resignation.

Only Tonga woman MP outlines focus

RNZI reports the only woman in the Tonga parliament, 'Akosita Lavulavu, won her Vava'u 16 seat in a by election last week.

Her husband, Eutate Lavulavu, had lost the seat after being convicted of charges relating to his campaign in the 2014 election.

Mrs Lavulavu told Radio Tonga she wants to initiate activity across a wide range.

‘Akosita Lavulavu wins Vava’u 16 by-election

Dr Viliami Uasike Latu became second with only 536 votes followed by Mr ‘Atalasa Pouvalu with 343 votes and Mr ‘Ipeni Siale with 280 votes.

The seat became vacant after former MP and Minister ‘Etuate Lavulavu was found guilty of bribery by the Supreme Court early this year.