5 Aug 2010

Tonga judicial commission's terms of reference being compiled

6:19 pm on 5 August 2010

Tonga's Minister for Information and Communication says terms of reference are being compiled for a commission of inquiry to investigate whether the Government unduly influences the judiciary.

The Privy Council's approval for the commission to be established follows the resignation of the former Attorney General, John Cauchi because of what he termed government interference.

Similar allegations surfaced after the decision to abolish the independent body that appoints judges, the Judicial Services Commission, and replace it with the Office of the Lord Chancellor.

Eseta Fusitu'a says the commission's job will be to clear the record and its members will not necessarily come from outside of Tonga.

"We're jumping the gun there because as I said the terms of reference will be the basic document from which those matters arise."

Eseta Fusitu'a says it's always been important to the government of Tonga that the judiciary be seen as independent.