13 Dec 2018

Impeachment in Tonga is just talk - Fakafanua

1:32 pm on 13 December 2018

Talk of impeachment proceedings against Tonga's government is just that, talk, according to the Speaker of the House, Lord Fakafanua.

The Speaker of the House, Lord Fakafanua

The Speaker of the House, Lord Fakafanua Photo: RNZ Pacific / Koro Vaka'uta

In June a 3,000 strong signature petition to impeach the prime minister and seven of his cabinet ministers was submitted to parliament.

The petition also called for an urgent audit of specific expenditure over the last three years regarding the ministers and the prime minister 'Akilisi Pohiva.

Numerous reports have suggested parliament has struggled to deal with the issue over the past few months.

However, Fakafanua said there is currently nothing for him to deal with because no impeachment proceedings have been launched.

He said there is nothing to stop this from happening.

"They have to satisfy a few clauses. So there has to be prima facie evidence and an affidavit and a few other supporting documents that have to be submitted. So this has to be tabled into my office before we can proceed with a motion.

"There is a lot of talk but at the end of the day we haven't had a physical document tabled at the Speaker's Office."

Lord Fakafanua said the decision on whether to launch an extraordinary audit into government expenditure is up to the auditor-general Sefita Tangi.

"This petition came in as a constitutional right for the people to petition, something that they are eager for parliament to work on, directly related to an audit by the auditor-general.

"We can request for an audit to be done by the auditor-general but the discretion for him to audit or not is up to him and that is because of his independence."

He has not discounted a motion being submitted in the new year.

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