22 May 2019

CJ rules there's sufficient evidence to try former Tonga PM

11:37 am on 22 May 2019

The Chief Justice in Tonga has ruled there is sufficient evidence to try former Prime Minister and current noble representative Lord Tu'ivakano on bribery charges.

Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept, court

Photo: ikiryo/123RF

Matangi Tonga reported Lord Chief Justice Paulsen made the ruling on Tuesday regarding four charges of accepting a bribe as a government servant.

The ruling overturns an initial decision by the Principal Magistrate to discharge Tu'ivakano.

The Chief Justice said the decision was made on the grounds there is a sufficiency of evidence for a trial, on a date yet to be set.

Tu'ivakano was initially charged with a total of 12 counts but in January the Principal Magistrate struck off the four counts of accepting bribes, citing a lack of evidence.

The latest decision brings the number of charges back to 12.

In March 2018, Tu'ivakano was arrested and charged with making a false declaration to obtain a Tongan passport, money laundering and accepting bribes by a government servant.

He remains on bail.