Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva said local media were tight-lipped on Tongan passports, Tongasat and ‘Atalanga royal residence scandals.
They did not cover allegation regarding a US$25 million dollar which the former government had transferred to Princess Pilolevu’s Tongasat company, Hon. Pōhiva told a press conference in Nuku’alofa last week.
He said the issue was very important and he was thankful that a recent court decision had indicated Tongasat may have to pay the government a TP$18 million tax bill.
He said the matter had been referred to a tribunal.
Hon. Pōhiva said a royal assent was given to the former government to investigate the Tongan passport scandals.
As Kaniva News reported the former government did not set up the commission according to the royal assent.
The Prime Minister said he had investigated the passport scandals since the 1980s, before he became a Parliament representative.
He said he did not see any of the Tongan media reporting on the story.
He said he had a copy of a royal command by late King George V for the eight hectare ‘Atalanga residence in Auckland to be controlled by one of the Ramanlal brothers, who were close to the king.
- Auditor general passport scandals involved PM’s office
- Million grant given to Tongasat was for the people says Chinese embassy
- The princess, the PSA, Pōhiva and the Chinese millions set to go back to court
- Tongan in the dark over satellite slot deal
- PM disobeys king order over diplomatic passport
- Tu’ivakanō could be impeached for disobeying king’s order: MP ‘Isileli Pulu
- Tonga Police seize former Prime Minister’s laptop over passport investigation
The Prime Minister said it was followed by a decision to sell the estate, but a caveat was put forward by Tongan lawyers in New Zealand and the sale was eventually withheld.
“My point is these are some of the most important issues for the nation as they involved very huge amount of money, but I never see any of our Tongan media reporting on them”, Hon. Pohiva said in Tongan.
Mr. Pesi Fonua, editor of Matangi Tonga online interrupted and told the Prime Minister he wanted to correct him.
He said they covered those issues starting with Tongasat and passports.
“Stop making such statements as they are wrong”, Fonua told the Prime Minister in Tongan.
He begged Hon. Pohiva to read their news so he could know what he was talking about.
Hon. Pohiva apologised and asked Fonua to forgive him, but Fonua continued on and reiterated that the Prime Minister has spoken wrongly.
“We feel we are being let down by what you were saying,” Mr. Fonua said.
Mr. Fonua did not say how did they cover those stories.
Hon. Pōhiva previously accused the royalist local media for not covering such scandals because they involved some members of the royal family and nobility.