13 Jul 2021

Tonga's 'Akosita and 'Eutate Lavulavu begin long jail terms

From , 6:02 am on 13 July 2021

Tongan cabinet minister, 'Akosita Lavulavu, and her husband, 'Etuate, have now begun serving jail terms after losing a bid for bail in a high profile corruption case.

The Lavulavus were convicted of fraud for falsifying the number of students enrolled in their privately run 'Unuaki 'o Tonga Royal Institute, when applying for vocational education training grants and then pocketing the state money the school was sent.

They had sought bail ahead of an appeal next March.

But this was denied by the Lord Chief Justice Michael Whitten, who said in his ruling he doubted their prospects for success on appeal.

Our correspondent in Tonga, Kalafi Moala, told Don Wiseman where the couple are now.

Tongan MP 'Akosita Lavulavu.

Tongan MP 'Akosita Lavulavu. Photo: RNZI/Koroi Hawkins