Police minister pays off TP$120,000 court debts as he faces new party supporting his rival

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Mateni Tapueluelu has paid off his court debts. Photo/Facebook

Tongan Police Minister Māteni Tapueluelu has paid off TP$120,000 court debts, clearing the way for him to stand in next month’s snap election.

Legal counsellor and former Minister of Police William Clive Edwards Snr confirmed this to Nepituno news website.

Tapueluelu’s debts stemmed from fines imposed on him and Kele’a Tonga newspaper by Tongan courts in various civil cases which arose when Hon. Tapueluelu was editor.

He owed the money to Mr.  Edwards Snr as well as eight other former government ministers who had sued the former editor and Member of Parliament for defamation and libel.

The plaintiffs included former Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakanō, former Deputy Prime Minister Sāmiu Vaipulu, former Minister of Education Dr. ‘Ana Taufe’ulungaki, former Minister of Police Dr. Viliami Uasike Lātū, former Minister of MAFF Sione Sangster Saulala and MP Fe’ao Vakatā.

The lawsuits stemmed from stories which included reports of claims about the transfer of Chinese money to Princess Pilolevu’s Tongasat company.

As Kaniva News reported in 2013, the magistrate’s court ruled on June 12 that year after the plaintiffs filed civil lawsuit over a letter to the editor. The letter accused the government of corruption and misuse of public funds, but the court rules there was no basis to the claims and that they were defamatory.

Allegations

Tapueluelu’s wife Lautala has used Facebook to deny allegations that a Chinese sponsor had helped pay off the debts.

She said she was concerned at how people were quick to speculate after it was announced that the debts had been cleared.

Lautala said they agreed with Mr Edwards the debts had to be paid by instalment.

She said her husband’s fines were paid with their own money and she was the one who went to Edwards office recently and settled the fines.

The Electoral Act section 9(4) requires potential candidates to submit their nomination forms together with written clearance from the Supreme Court that they have no record of an outstanding order under clause 65 of the Constitution.

New Party

Hon. Tapueluelu will stand against his former political rival ‘Isileli Pulu who is supported by the newly established Langafonua ‘a e Masiva party.

The party comprises former and current MPs, including Minster of Finance Dr.Aisake Eke, former Minister of Police and lawyer Siosifa Tu’utafaiva, former government minister and MP Sangstar Saulala and former Minister of Finance Sunia Fili.

The founder of the Langafonua Tu’uloa party, New Zealand-Tongan based lawyer Sione Fonua, became a member of the Langafonua ‘a e Masiva Party.

According to a final electoral roll published on September 15 there were 57,391 Tongan voters registered.

The main points

  • Tongan Police Minister Mateni Tapueluelu has paid off TP$120,000 court debts, clearing the way for him to stand in next month’s snap election.
  • Legal counsel and former Minister of Police William Clive Edwards confirmed this to Nepituno news website.
  • Tapueluelu’s debts stemmed from fines imposed on him and Kele’a Tonga newspaper by Tongan courts in various civil cases which arose when Hon. Tapueluelu was editor.
  • He owed the money to former Minister of Police and legal counsellor William Clive Edwards Snr as well as eight other former government ministers who had sued the former editor and Member of Parliament for defamation and libel.

For more information

Tongan magistrate rules seven were defamed by Kele’a Tonga newspaper

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  1. Kuo totongi ‘osi ‘e he Minisitā Polisi ‘a hono mo’ua he fakamaau’anga ko e pa’anga ‘e $120,000 (Taha Kilu Uamano) pea kuo ne ‘atā ai ke kau ki he fili Fale Alea fakatovave hake ko eni ‘o e māhina katu’u.

    Kuo fakapapau’i ‘a e ongoongo ni e he loea mo e minisitā polisi ki mu’a ko Williams Clive Edwards ki he ongoongo ‘a e Nepituno.

    Ko e ‘ū mo’ua ‘eni ‘o Tapueluelu ne tu’unga ‘i ha ngaahi tautea ne hilifaki kiate ia mo e nusipepa Kele’a Tonga ‘e he ngaahi fakamaau’anga kehekehe ‘i Tonga ‘i he taimi ne ne kei ‘ētita ai.

    Ko hono mo’ua pa’anga ‘eni kia Clive Edwards mo e kau minisitā ‘e toko valu ‘o e pule’anga ki mu’a ‘a ia ne nau faka’ilo ‘a Tapueluelu ki he lau’i kovi.

    Kau atu foki ki he kau talatalaaki ‘i hono faka’ilo ‘o Tapueluelu mo e Kele’a ‘a Lord Tu’ivakano, Samiu Vaipulu, minisita ako ki mu’a ko Dr. ‘Ana Taufe’ulungaki, Dr. Viliami Uasike Latu, Sione Sangster Saulala mo Fe’ao Vakata.

    Ko e ‘ū faka’ilo ko ‘eni ne tu’unga he ngaahi talanoa kau ai ‘a hono lipooti ‘o e ngaahi lau ‘o pehē na’e ‘ave ha pa’anga mei Siaina kia Pilinisesi Pilolevu mo ‘ene kautaha Tongasat.

    Hangē ko ia ne lipooti ‘e he Kaniva ‘i he 2013 na’e tu’utu’uni ‘a e fakamaau’anga polisi ‘i he ‘aho 12 ‘o Sune ‘o e ta’u ko ia hili ha ‘eke sivile ‘a e kau talatalaaki ‘i ha tohi ki he ‘ētita. Na’e tuku aki’i ‘e he tohi e pule’anga ki hono ngāue hala’aki ‘o e pa’anga ‘a e kakai, ka ne tu’utu’uni ‘a e fakamaau’anga na’e ‘ikai ha makatu’unga ki he tukuaki’i pea ko ia ai na’e lau’i kovi ‘a e fakamatala ni.

    Taimi tatau kuo lele ha ngaahi fakamatala lau tokua ‘o pehē ne tokoni ha Siaina ‘o totongi ‘a e mo’ua ko ‘eni ‘o Tapueluelu ka ‘oku faka’ikai’i ‘eni ‘e he hoa ‘o e Minisitaa he Feisipuka , Lautala Tapueluelu ‘o pehe ko ‘ena sēniti pe mo e Kele’a ne totongi’aki e mo’ua.

    Pehē ‘e Lautala ne nau alea pe ‘o tātā ‘a e mo’ua pea ko ia ne ‘alu ‘o totongi faka’osi.

    Na’a ne fakame’apango’ia he fa’ahinga fakamatala ‘ikai mo’oni ne fai ‘e ha ni’ihi ki he totongi mo’ua kuo fai.

    ‘E hoko atu leva ‘a Tapueluelu ke na fehangahangai mo hono hoatau ne ne ikuna’i ‘i he fili kuo ‘osi ‘a ‘Isileli Pulu ‘a ia kuo tu’u mai foki ‘eni ‘a Pulu mo ha’ane paati fo’ou ‘ana ke poupou’i ia ‘i he fe’auhi ko ‘eni.

    Ko e paati fo’ou ‘eni ia ‘oku ‘iloa ko e Langafonua ‘a e Masiva.

    ‘Oku kau ki ai ‘a Dr.Aisake Eke, Siosifa Tu’utafaiva, Sangstar Saulala mo Sunia Fili.

    Kau foki ki ai mo e loea ko Sione Fonua, ka ko e tokotaha foki ‘eni ne ‘a’ana ‘a e paati Langafonu Tu’uloa.

    Fakatatau ki he tohi lēsisita ke fili ‘i he ‘aho 15 ‘o Sepitema ne fe’unga e kau fili kuo lēsisita mo e toko 57, 391.