15 Mar 2007

Tongan Law Society still awaits NZAID allocation

2:04 pm on 15 March 2007

The Tongan Law Society says it has still not seen a cent of the legal aid money the New Zealand agency NZAID says was allocated to it.

NZAID says it has given the Tongan government more than 93,000 US dollars for the Crown Law office and 50,000 US dollars for the Law Society to support the costs of defence counsels in the hundreds of cases before the courts over the riot last year.

900 people are facing criminal charges following the riot which destroyed much of the centre of the capital, Nuku'alofa.

However, the President of the Tongan Law Society, Laki Niu, says it has not received any legal aid.

"I don't not know if any money has been donated by anybody towards defence of the people charged with offences in respect of the November riots."

President of the Tongan Law Society, Laki Niu.

Tonga's Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Alisi Taumoepeau, has said the New Zealand funds have been secured but she's not commented on why the money hasn't been received by the Society.