25 Jan 2006

Tongan parliamentary speaker Veikune convicted for bribery

4:51 pm on 25 January 2006

The speaker of the parliament in Tonga has been found guilty of bribery of a government servant and attempting to evade customs laws.

Veikune and his co-accused, 'Amini Tu'ivai, completed their final submissions yesterday in the Nuku'alofa Supreme Court.

The trial concluded today when the jury returned guilty verdicts on the two counts.

Earlier, the Chief Justice, Robin Webster, had dismissed a charge of conspiracy to commit bribery due to insufficient evidence.

Veikune, 'Amini Tu'ivai and a third man were accused to have bribed customs officers for the release of a container of 600 cartons of Fijian Bounty Rum, which arrived from Fiji in 2003.

Sentencing is scheduled for February the 15th.