Tonga PM says he needs advice from AG’s office on Bloomfield deportation

Prime Minister Pōhiva Tui’onetoa said he needs advice from the Attorney General’s office on what to do about the extradition of the former Tongan Head of the Oceania Customs Service in Fiji, Kulu ‘Anisi Bloomfield.

“This case is fragile,” Mr. Tui’onetoa said.

“Someone must come and give me the court decision and advise me of what I should do.

“While we are waiting for that we should not do anything that goes beyond our understanding, especially myself.”

Bloomfield has been charged by the Attorney General of Fiji with offences concerning general dishonesty and theft alleged to have been committed in Fiji between 2011 and 2014 when he was acting head of the Oceania Customs Organisation.

The Attorney General sought to extradite Bloomfield to Fiji to stand trial.

On October 30, 2019, PM Tui’onetoa issued an ‘authority to proceed’ with the extradition proceedings.

However, as Kaniva News reported earlier this month, Bloomfield appealed against his extradition in the Court of Appeal, citing a letter from the Prime Minister revoking his earlier order to proceed with the extradition under Section 71 of the Extradition.

In his summary of the case, Lord Chief Justice Whitten said: “Mr Bloomfield’s ultimate fate has not been determined . . . It depends on the Prime Minister’s exercise of discretion under Section 11 of the Act. There is no indication  . . . that the Prime Minister has yet made that decision or when he is likely to do so.”

Bloomfield’s leave to appeal was refused.

Kaniva News asked the Prime Minister what his final decision was going to be.

The Prime Minister was also asked if Bloomfield was returned to Fiji, whether any action would be taken on Lt Col Tevita Mara who fled from Fiji in 2011 and is now being protected in Tonga.

Col Mara was charged with plotting to overthrow Fiji’s ruler, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, who demanded his return.

Lt Col Mara is the son of the late former President of Fiji, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.