Chief clerk denies allegations of payment as treasury investigates

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Chief Clerk Gloria Pole'o. Photo/Tonga Parliament

The Tongan Parliament’s Chief Clerk has dismissed allegations that her husband’s construction company did not do maintenance works it had been paid to do by Parliament.

The Treasury said it was investigating the allegations after Kaniva News asked the Minister of Finance if he could confirm money was paid for the work.

Finance Minister Hon. Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa asked his CEO and another senior officer to look at the allegations and report to him.

He said in e-mails seen  by Kaniva News that  a report about what actually had happened would help the Treasury in the way how it dealt with such circumstances and in the future.

Chief Clerk Gloria Pōle‘o did not respond to request for a comment from Kaniva News.

However, she said in a statement published on the Parliament’s website last week that she was not involved in the alleged illegal activities in the office of the Legislative Assembly.

Pōle’o said there were allegations of passport dealings, money laundering and others against Parliament which led to a search warrant being issued in 2015.

Because she valued justice and the rule of law she allowed authorities to search Parliament, she said.

Pōle’o did not say anything about the outcome of the search.

She also did not reject claims that she had a conflict of interests with the Speaker of the House after claims were made that a restaurant owned by the Speaker and operated by her mother and sister was regularly used for parliamentary functions.

The allegations were raised in a resignation letter by former parliamentary legal advisor, Seinimili Tu’ionetoa Fonua, who is now working as a legal advisor for the Ministry of Public Enterprises.

Fonua claimed Parliament paid money for the construction but it did not do the work for several years.

She said it was recently realised some minor works were implemented in the House by the construction company which she believed were made to cover work the company was paid for but did not do.

Fonua has questioned the conditions of the work done.

As Kaniva News reported last week, Fonua, said she had resigned from the Legislative Assembly over what she claimed was a lack of independence in Parliament and allegations of financial and other irregularities involving Lord Tuʻivakanō, who is the Speaker of the House and a former Prime Minister.

The Speaker has denied Fonua’s claims.

The main points

  • The Tongan Parliament’s Chief Clerk has dismissed allegation that her husband’s construction company did not do maintenance work it had been paid to do by Parliament.
  • The Treasury said it was investigating the allegations after Kaniva News asked the Minister of Finance if he could confirm money was paid for the work.
  • Finance Minister Hon. Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa asked his CEO and another senior officer to look at the allegation and report to him.
  • Chief Clerk Gloria Pole‘o said last week that she was not involved in the alleged illegal activities in the office of the Legislative Assembly.

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