22 Feb 2010

John Jonesse charged with forgery in Tonga

4:15 pm on 22 February 2010

The New Zealand expatriate businessman involved in the purchase of the unseaworthy Tonga ferry, the Princess Ashika, has been charged with forgery, and knowingly dealing with forged documents.

A commission of inquiry into the sinking of the vessel, which claimed 74 lives, has been underway since last October.

John Jonesse was suspended late last year from his position as the chief executive of the Shipping Corporation of Polynesia after giving evidence at the inquiry.

Tonga's acting Police Commissioner, Taniela Faletau, says Mr Jonesse was arrested and charged late last week following revelations at another appearance before the commissioners, earlier this month.

"That is in relation to documents he purportedly signed - he signed another person's name in a document. I don't want to go into details but it is in relation to the Ashika."

Acting Commissioner Taniela Faletau says Mr Jonesse is on bail and due to appear on the 17th of March.