Electricity Commission meets to address allegations; funds were audited, NRFB boss says

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Lord Dalgety of Sikotilani Tonga (L) and Dr Leimoni Taufu'i

The members of the Electricity Commission trust board will meet tomorrow (Thursday, October 12) to discuss allegations regarding the electricity employees’ pension fund.

The CEO of the National Retirement Benefits Fund (NRBF) Dr.Leimoni Taufu’i said the meeting would also look at the employment contract of the chair of the Commission Lord Dalgety of Scotland Tonga.

In addition, it would discuss what the law said about the number of board members, Dr Taufu’i said.

He said the meeting was called on his advice after an Electricity Commission board member Paula Tupou alleged money was missing from the Commission’s pension fund scheme for the period between 2012 – 2016.

Dr. Taufu’i said the Commission had submitted audited reports to the NRBF for these financial years, although NRBF was not in a position to review it.

Tupou has questioned Lord Dalgety’s employment contract, which has a clause allowing him to stay on his post until he dies with some exceptions.

He told Kaniva News other people in similar positions with the Commission did not have employment contracts.

“They are appointed by the Finance Minister and approved by the Cabinet,” Tupou said.

“Commissioners may be dismissed by the Finance Minister for misconduct, neglect of duty, bankruptcy etc.

“We are paid a salary of $624 a month after tax. The chairman gets about $724 a month. We are paid a meeting fee of $100 per meeting after tax.”

Tomorrow’s meeting is expected to be attended by staff from Tax Office and an independent lawyer, as well as Dr. Taufu’i.

“I recommended to the Electricity Commission to call a board meeting and invite to it staff from the Tax Office to look at the issues with tax being raised, allegation about pension funds and a lawyer to look at Dalgety’s  employment contract”, Dr Taufu’i said in Tongan.

“In this way the allegations can be resolved and if they prove to be true Paula Tupou is free to take those responsible to court.”

Dr. Taufu’i said the law allowed the board trustees  to order an independent re-audit of the funds if they were not satisfied with any audited reports.

Dr. Taufu’i said he had written to Tupou and the commission about the NRFB laws and policy.

Electricity Commission fund

The Electricity Commission retirement fund scheme was one of 15 retirement fund organisations authorised by the NRBF in 2012 to operate their employees’ retirement funds by themselves before reporting them to NRBF.

These schemes were known as “complying schemes” which must furnish audited accounts every year, Dr. Taufu’i said.

“They have their own policy for operating their funds and have their own auditors.

“Their audited reports must be submitted to their own board.

“The law does not stipulate that NRBF has to scrutinise these audited reports but we have access to them.

“We know how much retirement funds paid out in the current year and any amendments to the Trust Deeds.”

In 2012 it was decided that all retirement commission boards must have equal representation from employers and workers, with two employer representatives and two employee representatives.

Dr. Taufu’i said NRBF was provided with the number of members at the Electricity Commission, but not their names.

In December 2014 an amendment was made to the law to remove the equal representation policy allowing well educated and experienced people in the community to be elected to join the boards.

The main points

  • The members of the Electricity Commission trust board will meet tomorrow (Thursday, October 12) to discuss allegations regarding the electricity employees’ pension fund.
  • The CEO of the National Retirement Benefits Fund (NRBF) Dr.Leimoni Taufu’i said the meeting would also look at the employment contract of the chair of the Commission Lord Dalgety.
  • In addition, it would discuss what the law said about the number of board members, Dr Taufu’i said.
  • He said the meeting was called on his advice after allegations that money was missing from the Commission’s pension fund schemes for the period between 2012 – 2016.

For more information 

Leaked e-mails point to major row with Lord Dalgety over missing fund allegations

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  1. ‘E fakataha ‘a e poate talāsiti ‘a e Komisoni ‘Uhila ‘a Tonga ‘apongipongi ‘aho Tu’apulelulu 12 ‘o ‘Okatopa ke alea’i ‘a e ngaahi talanoa lau tokua fekau’aki mo e pa’anga penisoni ‘a e kau ngāue ‘uhila.

    Na’e pehē ‘e he pule ‘o e Pa’anga Vāhenga Mālōlō Fakafonua ‘a Tonga Dr. Leimoni Taufu’i e fai foki ha sio ‘i he fakataha ni ki he konituleki ko ia ‘a e sea ‘o e Komisoni, Looti Dalgety ‘o Sikotilani Tonga.

    Tānaki atu ki ai, ‘e alea’i ai pe ko e hā ko ā e lau ‘a e lao ki he tokolahi ‘o e kau mēmipa ke ‘i he poate.

    Na’a ne pehē ko e fakataha ko ‘eni na’e ui ‘i ha’ane fale’i hili ia ha tukuaki’i tokua ‘e he taha e kau komisiona ‘uhila, Paula Tupou na’e ‘i ai e pa’anga na’e puli mei he pa’anga penisoni ‘a e Komisoni ‘i he vaha’a taimi 2012 – 2016.
    Na’e pehē ‘e Dr. Taufu’i na’e ‘osi fakahū kotoa ange pe ‘e he Komisoni ‘enau līpooti ‘osi ‘ātita’i neongo ‘oku
    ‘ikai tu’utu’uni ‘e he lao ke toe vakai’i e fakamatala ‘ātita ko ia ‘e he Poate Pa’anga Vāhenga Mālōlō Fakafonua.

    Na’e fehu’ia foki ‘e Tupou e konituleki ngāue ‘a Looti Dalgety he ‘oku ‘i ai e kupu ia ai ne pehē ‘e sea pe ia ‘i he komisoni toki to’o ha’ane mate pea ‘i ai mo e ngaahi konga ai ‘o ha ngaahi tukunga ‘e tukukehe.

    Pehē ‘e Tupou ko e toenga ‘o e kau komisiona ‘oku ‘ikai ha’anau konituleki ia ‘a kinautolu.

    ‘Oku fakanofo pe kau komisiona ‘e he Minisitā Pa’anga ‘i hano tali ‘e he Kapineti, ko e lau ia ‘a Tupou.

    ‘E lava ke kapusi ‘a e kau komisiona ‘e he Minisitā Pa’anga ‘i ha’anau angata’etaau, ta’etokanga ki he fatongia pe mo’ua hulu ‘ikai toe lava totongi ‘i ha tu’utu’uni ‘a e fakalao.

    Ko e vāhenga ‘o e kau komisiona fakatatau ki he lau ‘a Tupou ‘oku pa’anga ‘e TP$624 he māhina hili hono to’o ‘o e tukuhau. Ko e sea leva ‘oku pa’anga ia ‘e $724 he māhina. ‘Oku toe totongi foki ‘a ‘enau taki pa’anga ‘e $100 ki he fo’i fakataha hili hono to’o ‘o e tukuhau.

    ‘Oku ‘amanaki ke kau atu ki he fakataha ‘apongipongi ‘a e kau ngāue mei he ‘Ōfisi Tukuhau mo ha loea pehē kia Dr. Taufu’i foki.

    Pehē ‘e Dr. Taufu’i ko e fakataha ‘eni hili ha’ane fale’i e Komisoni pea ke fakaafe’i atu ki ai ‘a e kau ngāue tukuhau mo ha loea ke fai ha sio ki he ngaahi tukuaki’i ‘a Tupou.

    Na’a ne pehē ka fai ange ‘o mahino na’e mo’oni e ngaahi tukuaki’i ‘a Tupou pea ‘e ‘atā leva ia ke ne ‘oatu ‘a kinautolu tautonu he tukuaki’i ko ia ki he fakamaau’anga.

    Na’a ne pehē foki ‘oku ‘atā pe ‘a e kau talāsiti ‘o e poate ke nau tu’utu’uni ke toe ‘ātita’i fo’ou ha fakamatala pa’anga kuo ‘osi ‘ātita’i kapau ‘oku nau ta’efiemālie ki ai.

    Ko e pa’anga vāhenga mālōlō foki ‘a e ‘uhila na’e kau ia ‘i he ngaahi sino’i pa’anga kehekehe ‘e 15 ne tali pe ia ‘e he Poate Fakafonua ‘i he 2012 ke nau fakalele pe ‘enau pa’anga vāhenga mālōloo pea toki lipooti ange ki he Poate.

    ‘A ia ‘oku nau fakalele pe fakatatau ki he’enau palani ngāue pea fili pe ‘e kinautolu ‘enau ‘ātita pe ‘anautolu.

    ‘Oku ikai tu’utu’uni ‘e he lao ke toe sivi’i ‘e he poate fakafonua ‘a e ngaahi fakamatala ‘ātita ko ia.

    Ka ‘oku muimui’i lelei pe ‘e he poate ‘a e ngaahi fakamatala ko ia mo ‘ilo ki ha ngaahi liliu ‘e fai ki he’enau tiiti pe konisitūtone ‘a ‘enau poate takitaha.

    Ko e tu’utu’uni ki he kau mēmipa ‘i he poate na’e pau ke palanisi ‘o fakafofonga ‘e ua mei he kau ngāue pea toko ua mei he ngāue’anga.

    Ka ne liliu e lao ‘i he 2014 ‘o to’o ‘a e founga ko ia kae faka’atā ke fili mai ha kakai taukei mo ako ke nau hū mai ‘o mēmipa.