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Tonga PM Pōhiva sacks Minister of Internal Affairs Akosita Lavulavu

Tongan Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva has dismissed his minister who has been charged with various fraud charges, with effect from Wednesday 11 April 2018.

The Minister of Police told Kaniva News Lavulavu could be returned to Cabinet if she is cleared of wrong-doing.

Pohiva wrote to His Majesty Wednesday to revoke her appointment as Minister for Internal Affairs effective from 11 April 2018. The Prime Minister announced this to the media at at Media Conference this morning.

“The Hon Prime Minister had tried in several one-on-one meetings with her to convince her to resign voluntarily from Cabinet because of the criminal charges but she refused. Cabinet had also met several times on the issue and the rest of the Cabinet Ministers supported the Hon Prime Minister’s request that she should have resigned voluntarily. But she refused. So, the Hon Prime Minister said that he had no choice but to request His Majesty to revoke her appointment,” PM Media Advisor Lōpeti Senituli told Kaniva News this morning.

He also announced that he had also written to His Majesty to appoint Rev Dr. Tevita Tonga Mohenoa Puloka as Governor of Ha’apai with immediate effect.

Lavulavu and her husband had been charged after they allegedly committed crimes on August 2014 using forged documents contrary to section 172 of the Criminal Act to support an application by the Unuaki ‘o Tonga Royal Institute to obtain supplementary government funding to assist students.

Police said the Lavulavus were charged after the Auditor General’s office said hundreds of students supposedly attending their private school could not be identified and that the Institute should repay TP$553,800(US$248,207) to the Technical Vocational Education and Training fund (TVET).

They were ordered to appear at Fasi court on 26 March.

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