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Arrests, resignation makes the headlines in Tonga

Lord Tu'ivakano is now out on bail after his arrest last week

NUKU’ALOFA-March 5, 2018: 3.15pm (Nuku’alofa Times): Arrests made by Tonga Police and the resignation of a Cabinet Minister have made the headlines here in the Kingdom.

Former Prime Minister, a former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and current Member of Parliament Lord Tu’ivakano was arrested last Friday and will appear in Court later this month for charges relating to falsifying documents.

This is in relation to the passport scandal here.

He has since been granted bail and is now awaiting his court appearance.

Two young men were also arrested over the weekend by Tonga Police, in relation to the murder of a Chinese couple two weekends ago.

The young men, ages 15 and 17, are in Police custody.

Etuate and Akosita Lavulavu facing fraud charges

Etuate and Akosita Lavulavu facing fraud charges

In the third arrest case current Cabinet Minister Akosita Lavulavu and her husband Etuate, a former Cabinet Minister, were also arrested to face charges of fraud.

The Lavulavus were arrested in relation to corrupt practices mentioned in the 2016/2017 Auditor General’s Report.

Police Commissioner Stephen Caldwell said the three arrests were results of work being done by his officers in relation to the different cases.

“I commend my officers for the work they have done,” he said.

In another interesting development Lord Ma’afu has resigned as Minister of Lands, Survey and Defense.

He resigned last Friday and his resignation was accepted by Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva.

There was no reason stated.

Lord Ma’afu’s resignation comes a day after PM Pohiva announced that he was not accepting the resignation of Mateni Tapueluelu as Minister of Police.

The resignation of Lord Ma’afu opens the door for another noble to become Minister of Lands.

PM Pohiva will now have the chance to also select a Minister from outside of Parliament, with indications that he is eyeing Hon Lupepau Tuita Taione, daughter of Princess Pilolevu for the position.


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