1 Feb 2013

Drugs charges against former Tonga speaker dropped

1:36 pm on 1 February 2013

Prosecutors in Tonga have withdrawn drugs charges against the MP and former speaker of the legislative assembly, Lord Tu'ilakepa.

The Solicitor General, Aminiasi Kefu, says the Crown is dropping the charges because of the complexity of the case.

Mr Kefu says key evidence was gained by Australian Police by intercepting Lord Tu'ilakepa's phone calls, which in Tonga is illegal.

The charges were first laid in 2010, after Australian police alleged that Lord Tu'ilakepa was conspiring with the South American drug lord, Obeil Antonio Zuluaga Gomez, to ship cocaine to Tonga to sell in markets in Australia and China.

Lord Tu'ilakepa still faces four firearms charges.