17 Apr 2018

Former Tonga PM hits out at Pohiva claims

6:27 am on 17 April 2018

A former Prime Minister has hit back at allegations made last week by Tonga's current Prime Minister that political reforms were made in 2010 without the approval of parliament.

Matangi Tonga reports a claim made by 'Akilisi Pohiva that Lord Sevele and his government transferred executive power to the King in Privy Council without the approval of parliament, had been described as "a very serious allegation".

Sevele, recognised that Mr Pohiva had been corrected by his adviser, Lopeti Senituli, but said he still believed it was a serious allegation for a leader of a country to publicly claim that the Constitution was amended illegally.

Tonga's Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva and 2019 Pacific Games Organising Committee CEO Lord Sevele.

'Akilisi Pohiva, (left), and Lord Sevele Photo: wikicommons / Alex Perrottet / RNZ

He said if an MP or the Prime Minister made such a claim it stirred up public concern that needed to be corrected.

Sevele said all political changes that took place when he was Prime Minister followed the process that was outlined by the law and the Constitution, and were finalised by the House.

He countered the claim by Mr Pohiva that the power to appoint the Attorney General, Police Commissioner and select judges were executive powers that should be with Cabinet, but were illegally transferred to the Privy Council.

He said executive power was the authority to manage an operation, and in the past the executive power was with the Privy Council, but now it was with Cabinet.