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People ready to build nation, but corruption has made government dysfunctional, says Tonga PM

Some senior Tongan government officials have abused foreign-funded projects, Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva told Kaniva News.

The Prime Minister said some of them did not work to the best of their ability because they did not like him politically.

This kind of abuse had to be stopped immediately.

“It has caused the government to be dysfunctional,” Pōhiva said.

Pōhiva said people were ready to build the nation.

“Unfortunately we find it very difficult to move forward unless we have to do something about these problems,” he said.

There was no use in the government having good policies while those who were required to implement those policies in the ministries were corrupt.

There was a political, social and business network outside government which “strongly influenced” the government’s decision making, Hon. Pōhiva said.

He said it was clear that in the past two years the only successful projects his government had launched were handled by senior officials who were not corrupt and did not have a political vendetta against him.

“We have to clean these up as soon as possible so that the government’s policies could be put into effects,” Pōhiva said in a December interview.

Pōhiva said it had been reported to him that some senior officials had applied for funding of some projects for the ministries.

It had been claimed most of those projects were either unsuccessful or contributed less advantages to the community because of the way how they were implemented.

“What I now know is that when those projects were launched the people who benefitted most were the consultants and those who monitored the project because they were paid from it,” the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister said he had proved in the past two years that corrupt senior officials inside the government had connections with an outside network.

He said this network included some members of the business circles and the nobility.

“If we cannot remove or do something to these senior officials inside the government we cannot move forward,” Pōhiva said.

He said last year he noticed some of the projects went well and smoothly while others were not.

“For example there were projects in Vava’u including one that was required for the preparation for the king’s 65 birthday,” Pōhiva said.

“That project met the timeline and there were no deterrent after it was launched.”.


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