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Accused Tongan politicians, Tu'ivakano and Lavulavu cases adjourned

Tongan noble and former Prime Minister, Lord Tu’ivakano had his case adjourned to April 23 after appearing at the Fasi Magistrate’s Court Monday, where the Crown revealed he will face additional counts relating to unlawful possession of a firearm.

Represented by Clive Edwards, the accused, who was arrested on 01March, is charged with 10 counts in total, including one of making a false declaration to obtain a passport, two perjury counts, five for accepting bribes and two counts of money laundering.

The Crown represented by the Director for Public Prosecutions ‘Aminiasi Kefu submitted a request for the delay to Principal Magistrate Salesi Mafi, because police investigators had not yet provided the documents.

He said work had not been completed in regards to 12 files they have on the case and new information had been collected in relation to the new charge regarding a firearm, which had been sent to police to be served.

The counsel for the accused had initially told the court that he had not received any documents on his client's case from the prosecution.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Internal Affairs  ‘Akosita Lavulavu, and her husband, former Cabinet Minister, ‘Etuate Lavulavu, who were also present at the lower court, had their case adjourned to May 28.

This was after the Crown again asked for another two-months to get documents ready.

The couple who were arrested on 03 March, are charged with three counts each of knowingly dealing with forged documents and three counts of obtaining credit by false pretences, which relates to a number of irregularities in an audit of the ‘Unuaki ‘o Tonga Royal Institute in 2016. 

The submission for delay was strongly opposed to by their two counsel, Sifa Tu’utafaiva for ‘Etuate Lavulavu and Sione Taione for ‘Akosita Lavulavu.

However, the Crown said this case deals with four accused, including the couple and they are looking to call 300 witnesses or more, with additional charges.

The Principal Magistrate in the end ruled it was wiser to adjourn these cases but instructed the Crown not to further delay in the near future.


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