21 Nov 2006

Tonga's PM advisor says police investigating claims riots were carefully planned

9:01 am on 21 November 2006

The Tongan Prime Minister's chief advisor, Lopeti Senituli says he knows nothing of claims that the recent riots in Tonga's capital were carefully planned and funded by commercial interests.

New Zealand businessman, Mike Jones who is Tonga's biggest employer says the riots were carefully orchestrated and commercially motivated with the rioters paid in beer and money.

Mr Senituli says police are investigating what happened and that includes allegations that the Tonga Business Association might have helped drive the riots.

"He says the police are conducting intensive widespread investigation into the riots and its causes. We are certainly part of the list of people that are being investigated."

Lopeti Senituli says political factors could also have sparked the rioting, which caused damage estimated at about a-hundred- and ten million dollars and it could take up to five years to re-establish the capital's business district.