25 Jun 2010

Tonga budget estimates revised amid officials' mistakes

1:25 pm on 25 June 2010

Tonga's Prime Minister says a decision by the Government to pick up more of the costs incurred by the King in his official duties has not been reflected in Budget estimates.

Disparities in the estimates have sparked claims in Parliament that King George Tupou the 5th is receiving much more in his Privy Purse allocation and that foreign aid funding is being used.

Dr Fred Sevele says the claims by pro-democracy MPs Isileli Pulu and Akilisi Pohiva are nonsense and he blames finance department officials for leaving out critical information.

"We have had to bring in additional expenses that used to be borne by His Majesty and the clamour by some of the People's Reps in recent years that he should not be involved in businesses, he said OK. They said let him get out of businesses and let the state look after the needs of the monarchy."