4 Aug 2011

A spokesperson for Tonga's King says the removal of the police comissioner is illegal

2:02 pm on 4 August 2011

An official for the King of Tonga says the removal of New Zealander Chris Kelley as the police commissioner is illegal.

He has also strongly criticised cabinet's plans to change the Police Act.

This comes after government refused to roll over the commissioner's contract, with Mr Kelley due to leave Tonga on Saturday.

The Matangi Tonga website reports the Lord Privy Seal, Vainga Tone, wrote to it saying cabinet is acting outside of the law in not renewing the contract.

Decisions on the police commissioner's appointment, under the Police Act, are to be made by the King with his Privy Council.

But the body hasn't met since the new government was formed and the Police Minister, Viliami Latu, says they need to change the act so the government can make the necessary appointment decisions.

Matangi Tonga says the statement from Mr Tone also made King George Tupou the 5th's displeasure clear.

It says no ministers have sought an audience on the issue so there are no grounds for passing new legislation to amend the Police Act.

A spokesperson for prime minister Lord Tu'ivakano says they won't comment on the criticism from the King until both men have met to discuss the issue, and that's due to happen Friday morning.