13 Feb 2013

Tonga police officer implicated in writing false letters

4:05 pm on 13 February 2013

Tonga's police chief has confirmed some officers have been writing letters wrongly clearing people of a criminal record.

Grant O'Fee says his staff are now checking records after the Kele'a paper reported instances of convicted criminals applying for New Zealand visitors' visas and asking a senior police officer to provide letters stating they have no criminal record.

He says he knew this practice had occurred prior to the new Police Act coming into force in 2010, and that it supposedly involved just minor offences.

But Mr O'Fee says he is now aware at least two officers are continuing to write such letters.

"So I am still very concerned that we have historically several instances of - and we don't know how many as we are still having inquiries to figure out just how often this has occurred - several instances of individuals whose records have been cleared, and I'm most concerned that this has happened."

Tonga police commissioner Grant O'Fee.