13 Sep 2012

Tonga Cabinet Minister says loan review findings petty

2:01 pm on 13 September 2012

The recent report into the handling of a Chinese loan for the rebuilding of the Tongan capital city is still under debate in Parliament.

One of the report writers Dr Sitiveni Halapua says the Government was unsuccessful yesterday in removing elements of the report from the debate, which will continue next Tuesday.

The loan was approved by Cabinet to be used after the 2006 riots but the report found it was illegal because changes to the contract were not put to the House.

Tonga's Minister of Justice and Public Enterprise Clive Edwards was also unsuccessful in asking the Parliament to look into why protesters burned the city during the riots.

Mr Edwards says complaints that the previous government used the funds for a broader scope than initially planned are petty.

"They are trying to have a very narrow argument that only the houses that were burned were to be replaced. And if that was done, what about the mess that was made with the burning of the roads and everything else that was affected? And the buildings, who is going to pay for that? The people who's properties were burned down?"

Tonga's Minister of Justice and Public Enterprise Clive Edwards.