25 Jun 2010

Reprimand for Tonga finance ministry officials over erroneous documents

3:37 pm on 25 June 2010

The Tonga Finance Minister says he will reprimand his staff for failing to draw up correct Budget estimates showing how the King's spending is allocated.

The Government has been strongly critical of claims from pro-democracy MPs that King George Tupou the 5th was receiving an allocation top up of around two hundred percent.

Finance Minister Afu'alo Matoto concedes that the estimates given to MPs conveyed that impression but officials had not included all the data.

He says the new King operates in a different fashion from that of his father but staff haven't adjusted.

Mr Matoto says he will discipline them but they won't lose their jobs.

"It is a shortcoming in experience because we are living through a period of change and things are changing and people are not sufficiently experienced to know how to respond to these changes. They are doing things in the way they are used to doing them and although we are trying to get them to change, change is not easily accepted."