12 Oct 2010

Concerned Tongans place caveat to delay sale of Epsom estate

1:35 pm on 12 October 2010

A group of concerned Tongans has lodged a caveat on the Tongan king's Auckland residence in a bid to prevent its sale.

The sale of King George Tupou V's 1.6 hectare Epsom estate is expected to raise about seven million US dollars.

The group says the property belongs to the Tongan government but the government said last month that it did not own it as it was purchased by the Royal Family.

An Auckland-based lawyer, Joel Fotu, says they placed the caveat in an attempt to delay the sale until Tonga's first democratic elections next month and more will possibly follow.

"I just want to preserve the status quo until proper people which form the government in Tonga, they'll consider themselves if this property should be up for sale or not."

Mr Fotu says there is enough evidence to show that the estate belongs to the Tongan government.