1 Aug 2018

Tokelau Ulu speaks out on legal case

2:36 pm on 1 August 2018

Tokelau's Ulu Afega Gaualofa has broken his silence on the legal action being taken against his government by two former public servants.

French Polynesia's President Edouard Fritch (L), Ulu-o-Tokelau, Aliki Faipule Afega Gaualofa (R)

Afega Gaualofa Photo: Supplied

Jovilisi Suveinakama and Heto Puka are suing Mr Gaualofa and his administration after they were fired in November last year for their role in the purchase of two helicopters.

Mr Gaualofa has repeatedly refused to speak with RNZ Pacific but released a media statement and a recorded interview this morning.

"We will stick to the judicial process initiated by Jovilisi and Heto. That will be the proper forum to state our views. The two dismissed public servants also filed two applications to the High Court and they have both been unsuccessful."

Court documents show an application for interim relief by Mr Suveinakama and Mr Puka was denied by the High Court of Tokelau in December.

Their lawyer John Goddard said another application was withdrawn because Tokelau's government agreed to provide the pair with backpay.

Mr Gaualofa said Mr Puka, who was refused access to July's General Fono, should have known he would not be allowed to speak because the meeting's agenda was already set.

He confirmed earlier reports by RNZ Pacific that air services for Tokelau are back on the table but said they would need to be approved by the Taupulega.

"Neither the Fono nor the Executive nor New Zealand has the power to enforce it, the reason for which talatalanoa [ongoing discussion] among all parties is important," said Mr Gaualofa.

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