29 Jan 2016

Tongan minister found guilty of bribery

5:13 pm on 29 January 2016

Tonga's tourism minister, 'Etuate Lavulavu, has been found guilty of conspiracy to commit bribery on three separate occasions by the Supreme Court.

Radio Tonga reports that Chief Justice Owen Paulsen said that Lavulavu had overspent beyond the legal requirements during his 2014 election campaign on Vava'u.

The prosecution said that Lavulavu had personally carried out road construction as part of his campaign, while giving money to people on the day of the election to induce votes.

Mr Paulsen also declared Lavulavu's election in Vava'u null and void, a declaration the Speaker of Parliament will now decide on.

Lavulavu's lawyer, Siosifa Tu'utafaiva, said he would appeal against the verdict.

An election petition filed against Tonga's Minister of Infrastructure, 'Etuate Lavulavu, for alleged illegal practices will be heard by a Supreme Court judge in July.

Lavulavu found guilty Photo: Facebook