2 Nov 2011

Tonga's auditor general says senior official responsible for missing aid funds

1:39 pm on 2 November 2011

Tonga's auditor general says responsibility lies with a senior official still working in the prime minister's office for missing New Zealand aid funds.

Pohiva Tuionetoa says the New Zealand High Commission in Nuku'alofa prompted his report on the missing funds.

Sally Round reports

"Mr Tuionetoa says the report does not conclude whether the matter is due to poor book-keeping or misappropriation. The New Zealand government says more than 160,000 US dollars of a 1.2 million dollar democracy education project is unaccounted for. It is conducting an independent audit of the project which was administered by the office of Dr Fred Sevele who was Prime Minister at the time. New Zealand and Australia provided money for the programme to help educate communities about democracy before Tonga embraced a greater degree of democracy in its elections last year. Mr Tuionetoa says his report will go to parliament's Public Accounts Committee and the Public Service Commission which would decide on any action."