15 Sep 2012

Tonga's Attorney-General attacked over comments on loan report

9:26 am on 15 September 2012

The authors of a new report on the Tongan Government's handling of a Chinese loan for the rebuilding of the capital city have attacked the country's Attorney-General for making comments out of turn.

The parliamentary select committee report found the 50 million US dollar loan given to Tonga by the Exim Bank of China was illegal and it says somebody should face charges.

The Attorney-General Neil Adsett said the report was thorough and worthwhile, but there's no proof of illegality and some conclusions are more political than factual.

Parliament decided during the week not to refer the report to the Attorney-General's office.

But Dr Sitiveni Halapua says Mr Adsett's comments are out of line and unacceptable.

"For the office of the attorney-general to tell the house how to run its business, I think that is unprofessional, inappropriate and unethical. He should maintain the independence of his office and remain as such. he should not try to tell the Parliament how to run its business."

Dr Sitiveni Halapua says the Attorney-General has put the Parliament in a difficult position should it decide next week to refer the report to an independent prosecutor.