20 May 2010

Tonga PM threatens to sue Kele'a paper for defamation

3:51 pm on 20 May 2010

Tonga's Prime Minister, Dr Feleti Sevele, is threatening to sue a Tongan newspaper in the New Zealand courts, claiming it has defamed him.

The Prime Minister's Auckland based lawyer, Mark Woolford, says the Kele'a newspaper published untrue and defamatory stories in its coverage of Dr Sevele's testimony to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the sinking of the Princess Ashika.

Mr Woolford says the paper claimed that Dr Sevele had lied to the Commission, committing perjury and is criminally liable.

He says this is untrue and demanded a retraction and apology or he would issue proceedings in New Zealand.

The paper's editor, Mateni Tapueluelu, says the Kele'a rejects the Prime Minister's claims and stands by its stories and editorials.