24 Sep 2018

Tongan PM calls for jailing of parliament

5:04 pm on 24 September 2018

Tonga's Prime Minister, 'Akilisi Pohiva, says the country's parliamentarians should all be jailed for inaction on controversial payments made to Tongasat.

'Akilisi Pohiva

'Akilisi Pohiva Photo: RNZ / Koro Vaka'uta

The company, which manages Tonga's orbital space, is at the centre of a legal case brought by Mr Pohiva over nearly $US50 million it received from China.

Last month, Tonga's Supreme Court ruled the payments were not approved by the government.

According to Matangi Tonga Mr Pohiva told parliament last week that a 2012 Auditor General's report reached the same conclusion but nothing was done.

He suggested the members take turns in twos to do prison time at the weekends and in the mornings so as not to disrupt parliament.

'Eua Noble MP Lord Nuku told parliament the Tongasat case should not be debated because there is an appeal pending by the defendants.

The plaintiffs, Mr Pohiva and Tonga's Public Service Association, have been granted costs of the legal action, but this has not yet been finalised.

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