21 May 2003

Tongan MP says acquittal shows palace office committed indiscretions

6:17 am on 21 May 2003

Akilisi Pohiva says the decision in Tonga acquitting him, his son, Po'oi, and a fellow MP, Isi Pulu, of sedition charges reflects badly on the activities of the royal palace office.

The trio faced a total of 11 charges over the publication of a mysterious Palace Office letter, which the government claimed was a forgery.

Mr Pohiva's newspaper Kele'a published what it said was a 1991 letter from the late palace secretary, 'Ofa Tu'i'onetoa, allegedly detailing 350 million US dollars held by the king in offshore bank accounts.

Mr Pohiva says the case revealed evidence of palace indiscretions.

"The evidence.of the crown prosecutor brought during the hearing, clearly indicated that there are quite a number of correspondences between both his office and other people overseas who were supposed to be friends of the king who were not known to the king or they were not authorised by the king according to the witnesses or some of the witnesses called by the crown prosecutor."

Akilisi Pohiva says although there has been no coverage of the case in Tonga, he intends to publish details of the case in the Kele'a.