1 Nov 2011

Missing NZ aid money being investigated in Tonga

9:04 am on 1 November 2011

Hundreds of thousands of dollars of New Zealand aid money to Tonga is believed missing, leading the government there to launch an investigation.

The news agency, Stuff.co.nz says New Zealand's Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry is vowing to take a hard line if the money is found to be unaccounted for.

A report into the aid money was received by New Zealand diplomatic staff yesterday.

Last night MFAT said it was aware an investigation had been launched by the Tongan auditor-general relating to a New Zealand aid programme project in Tonga.

A ministry spokesman says if there are monies that are not fully accounted for, the ministry will take whatever appropriate steps are required.

The ministry would not comment on which aid project the investigation related to, and said Tonga continues to receive New Zealand aid money despite the inquiry.

It is understood the missing money totals several hundred thousands of dollars.