Former Deputy PM’s daughter denies money in photo was to buy Tongan passports

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Sisi Vaipulu said the money was $200,000 paid to her father by investors who wanted to buy shares in Tonga Airways. Photo/Facebook

A daughter of former Tongan Deputy Prime Minister Sāmiu Vaipulu has responded to allegations posted online with a photo of her father sitting on a sofa beside a bag full of what appear to be bundles of dollars.

Sisi Vaipulu denied allegations on Facebook that  the photo was taken when Chinese buyers made a deal with Sāmiu to secretly buy Tongan passports.

She said the money was $200,000 paid to her father by investors who wanted to buy shares in Tonga Airways.

The airline was partly owned by the Vaipulus and some foreign investors.

The airline claimed it would provide a second air service for Tonga with cheaper airfares than the existing operator, Real Tonga.

Sisi said the money was used to pay staff who had worked for the company without pay since August 2015 and to pay off money they borrowed to pay for the processing of the company’s license.

She said their family spent $500,000 on the company before receiving the $200,000 from the interested investors.

She said the payment of the $200,000 was made in about May 10, 2016 after Clive Edwards contacted Sāmiu and told him his son, David Edwards, and some Chinese investors including  investor De Feng Mo wanted to meet him to invest in the airline.

Another photo in circulation shows a close up of the money.

Sisi said they spent all their family savings in the business and all the investors’ money before the investors left the company after the application for the license was declined.

The photo

She said she suspected the photo came from De Feng Mo.

Sisi said De took photos to prove to the Chinese investors he paid the money to Sāmiu.

In the photo, in question, Sāmiu is sitting with both legs crossed, with the bundles of money beside him.

Another photo in circulation shows a close up of the money.

Sisi said the accusations against her father, who is a Vava’u 15’s candidate running for Parliament in next month’s snap election, was something they were familiar with, especially at election time.

Tonga Airways

Towards December 2016 Tonga Airways announced its intention to operate domestic flights.

However, the Minister of Civil Aviation rejected the company’s application for a license, saying two airlines to serve the local flight was too much.

Sisi told Kaniva News the cancellation was a huge blow to their family and the investors because they already had spent about half a million in hiring pilots, trainings and processing various certificates and paper works including assessment processes in Vanuatu.

New investors invested more money, but the government still did not offer an Air Operator Certificate, an emotional Sisi said.

She said after their airline business failed, she and her father concentrated on running their law office services.

The main points

  • A daughter of former Tongan Deputy Prime Minister Sāmiu Vaipulu has responded to allegations posted online with a photo of her father sitting on a sofa beside a bag full of what appear to be bundles of dollars.
  • Sisi Vaipulu denied allegations on Facebook that the money in the photo was taken when Chinese buyers made a deal with Sāmiu to secretly buy Tongan passports.
  • She said the money was $200,000 paid to her father by investors who wanted to buy shares in Tonga Airways.
  • The airline was partly owned by the Vaipulus and some foreign investors.

For more information

Real Tonga airline says no room for second airline

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  1. Kuo faka’ikai’i ‘e ha ‘ofefine ‘o e Tokoni Palēmia ki mu’a Sāmiu Vaipulu e ngaahi lau tokua kuo pousi fakataha mo ha tā ‘ene tangata’eiki lolotonga ha’ane tangutu ‘i ha soda ‘i ha tafa’aki ‘o ha tangai fonu hangē ha pa’anga ‘i he Feisipuka.

    Na’e pehē ‘e Sisi Vaipulu ko e pa’anga ia ‘e $200, 000 (Ua Kilu) ko esea ‘o ha kau ‘inivesitoa ne nau fakatau sea ‘i he kautaha vakapuna Tonga Airways ‘a ‘ene tangata’eiki.

    Ko e kautaha vakapuna ‘eni ‘a e fāmili Vaipulu ‘o nau kaungā ma’u mo ha kau ‘inivesitoa muli ‘a ia ne taumu’a ke nau fakalele ha fakahoko fatongia vakapuna ke ua’aki ‘a e kautaha ne lolotonga lele, ‘a e Real Tonga.

    Ne toe tukupā ‘a e kautaha ni ‘e ma’ama’a ange ‘enau totongi.

    Pehē e Sisi ne ngāue’aki ‘a e pa’anga ko ‘eni ke totongi e kau ngāue ne nau ngāue te’eki totongi talu mei ‘Aokosi 2015 mo totongi ‘aki ‘enau nō ne fakahoko ke tokoni ki hono fakahū e kole laiseni ki he vakapuna.

    Na’a ne pehē ne nau fakamoleki ha pa’anga ‘e $500,000 ‘i he kautaha ki mu’a pea ma’u ko ‘eni ‘a e $200,000 mei he kau ‘inivesitoa.

    Na’a ne pehē ko e pa’anga ko ‘eni ‘e $200, 000 ne totongi ange ia fakafuofua ki he ‘aho 10 ‘o Mē 2016 hili ia ha fetu’utaki ange ‘a Clive Edwards fekau’aki mo ha fie fakatau sea ‘a hono foha mo ha kau ‘inivesitoa Siaina
    kau ai ‘a e tangata Siaina ko De Feng Mo.

    Pehē ‘e Sisi ne iku ‘o osi kotoa ‘enau seivingi fakafāmili he pisinisi ni pea pehē ki he pa’anga ‘a e kau ‘inivesitoa ki mu’a pea nau foki atu kinautolu ‘i he mahino ‘e ‘ikai tali ‘a e kole laiseni.

    Na’e faka’ikai’i ‘e Sisi ‘a e lau tokua ko e paanga ni ne faitaa’i mo Sāmiu lolotonga ha’ane tila fakapulipuli mo ha kau fakatau paasipooti Siaina.

    Na’a ne pehē ‘oku ne hu’uhu’u ko e tā ko ‘eni kuo ‘avea ‘i he Feisipuka ko e ha’u mei a De feng Mo he ko ia ne ne faitaa’i ‘a e pa’anga mo Sāmiu ke fakamo’oni’i ki he kau ‘inivesitoa Siaina ne a’utonu pe ‘enau pa’anga kia Sāmiu.

    Ne ne pehē foki ne ‘ikai tali ‘a e laiseni ka kuo nau mole a’u ki he vaeua miliona ‘i he totongi e kau pailate, ko e ngaahi ako ne fai, mo hono fai ‘o e ngaahi me’a fakapepa pea kau ai ‘a hono fai ‘o e ngaahi ‘asesimeni ‘o e ngāue ne pau ke fai ia ki Vanuatu.

    Ne Fakahā ‘e Sisi ki he Kaniva ko e tā ne o’o ki he fāmili ‘a e mole ko ‘eni pea ‘oku nau kei fakahoko ‘a e ngāue ki hono to’o ‘a e lēsisita.

    Ne fakahā foki ‘i Tīsema 2016 ‘a hono ‘ikai tali ‘e he Minisitā Vakapuna Sivile ‘a e kautaha ko ‘eni ‘a Sāmiu ‘o ne pehē ‘oku fu’u lahi ‘a e kautaha ia ‘e ua ki Tonga.