Disqualified MP Mateni Tapueluelu

The by-election for Tongatapu 4 electorate will go ahead despite an appeal by disqualified MP Mateni Tapueluelu.

Tapueluelu was found by Chief Justice Owen Paulsen to have breached Clause 65 of the Tongan Constitution because he registered himself to run for Parliament while he had an outstanding court debt.

Tonga’s Acting Attorney General, ‘Aminiasi Kefu, told Kaniva News this morning (December 22) he received Tapueluelu’s appeal of the judicial decision against him yesterday afternoon. It was registered at the Supreme Court’s Registry Office on Friday 18, six days after Mr Justice Paulsen issued his findings.

However, Kefu said the registration and submission of the appeal at Supreme Court last week could not stop the Speaker of the House from declaring Tapueluelu’s disqualification as an MP and applying for the processing of a by-election to elect a successor.

“Section 6 of the Legislative Assembly Act stipulates that a by-election must be processed [once a member was disqualified] and there is no part of that section that says section 6 must be suspended if there is an appeal,” Kefu said in Tongan.

Kefu said Tapueluelu has already been stripped of his salary and other entitlements he received as an MP.

He said Tapueluelu could only continue to obtain his salary and Parliamentary entitlements if the Court of Appeal ordered a stay of execution of the Supreme Court decision.

The Acting AG said Tapueluelu submitted his appeal together with an application to stay the execution of the judicial decision declaring his election was unconstitutional.

Kefu said the only time the effect of Section 6 of the Legislative Acts could be deferred was when the Court of Appeal ordered a stay of execution. This was the only decision that could stop the Speaker of Parliament and Election Commissioner from beginning the process of holding a by-election.

Kefu said there were two Court of Appeal sessions each year. The next session will be in March 29, 2016. Thatʻs when Tapuelueluʻs appeal will be heard.

Tapueluelu however can apply for stay of execution in January next year and such application could be brought before the Lord Chief Justice, Kefu said.

He said a decision on Tapuelueluʻs appeal should be made before the Legislative Assembly resumed in May next year.

The Acting AG also said he advised the Parliament’s Chief Clerk to hold processing of the by-election until any decisions on Tapueluelu’s appeal was heard. But he said it was entirely up to the Chief Clerk and Speaker of the House to make their final decision on it.

The Chief Clerk of Tonga’s Legislative Assembly did not respond to our request for comment.

The main points

  • The by-election for Tongatapu 4 electorate will go ahead despite an appeal by disqualified MP Mateni Tapueluelu.
  • Tapueluelu was found by Chief Justice Owen Paulsen to have breached Clause 65 of the Tongan Constitution because he registered himself to run for Parliament while he had an outstanding court debt.
  • Tonga’s Acting Attorney General, ‘Aminiasi Kefu, told Kaniva News this morning (December 22) he received Tapueluelu’s appeal of the judicial decision against him yesterday afternoon.
  • However, Kefu said the registration and submission of the appeal at Supreme Court last week could not stop the Speaker of the House from declaring Tapueluelu’s disqualification as an MP and applying for the processing of a by-election to elect a successor.

1 COMMENT

  1. FAKATOKANGA: Oku ʻikai ngofua ke hiki tatau (cut and paste) ʻa e ongoongó ni ʻo pulusi ʻi ha feituʻu taʻe maʻu ha ngofua mei he Kanivá

    ʻE kei hoko atu pe ʻa e ngāue ke fakahoko ha fili siʻi ʻa e vāhenga Tongatapu 4 neongo ʻa e tangi kuo fakahū atu ʻe he Mēmipa Fale Alea kuo fakataʻeʻaongaʻi ko Māteni Tapueluelú.

    Ne ʻilo ʻe he ʻEiki Fakamaau Lahi ko Owen Paulsen kuo maumauʻi ʻe Tapueluelu ʻa e kupu 65 ʻo e Konisitūtone ʻa Tonga koeʻuhī ko ʻene lēsisita maʻana ke fili ki Fale Alea lolotonga ʻoku ʻi ai hono moʻua fakafakamaauʻanga.

    Ne fakahā ʻe he Āteni Seniale Leʻoleʻo ʻa Tongá ʻAminiasi Kefu ki he Ongoongo ʻa e Kanivá he pongipongí ni Tīsema ʻaho 22 ne ne toki maʻu e tangi ʻa Tapueluelú he hoʻatā efiafi ʻaneafí. Naʻe lēsisita e tangí ni ʻi he Failēsisita ʻi he Fakamaauʻanga Lahí ʻi he Falaite uike kuo ʻosí ko hono 18 ʻo Tīsemá.

    Neongo iá ne pehē ʻe Kefu ko hono lēsisita mo fakahū ko ʻeni ʻo e tangí ki he Fakamaauʻanga Lahí ʻi he uike kuo ʻosí ʻe ʻikai ke taʻofi ai e Sea ia ʻo e Fale Alea mei hono fanongonongo kuo ʻosi fakataʻeʻaongaʻi e mēmipa Fale Alea ʻa Tapueluelú mo e ngāue ke fai ke fakahoko leva ha fili foʻou ke kumi hano fetongi.

    Ko e fakamatala tonu ʻeni ʻa Kefu ki he Kanivá ʻo ne fakamahino ʻoku ʻikai ʻuhinga e fakahū ʻe Tapueluelu ʻene tangí ko ha makatuʻunga ia ke fakatatali ai e fakahoko hono tauteá ne tuʻutuʻuni ʻe he fakamaauʻanga lahi ʻi he ʻaho 12 ʻo Tisema mo fili hano fetongí.

    Ne ne pehē: “Ko e ‘uhingá kuo fakaha e he kupu 6 ‘o e Lao ki he Fale Alea ke fakahoko a e ngaue ke fili foou ia, pea oku ikai ha kupu ia he lao ko iá pe ha lao kehe kuopau ke toloi a e fakahoko a e kupu 6 kapau e fai ha tangi.

    “Ko e Fakamaau’anga pe te ne lava tuutuuni ke toloi pe stay a e fakahoko a e kupu 6.

    “Koia ai nae fakahu fakataha mai ae tangi a Mateni pea mo ene kole ki he Fakamaauanga ke toloi ae fakahoko ae tuutuuni ae Fakamaau Lahi kae oleva kuo fakahoko ae tangi.

    “Ko e toki taimi e tuutuuni ae Fakamaauanga ke toloi, pea toki taimi ia ke taofi leva ae ngaue ae Sea oe Fale Alea pea mo e Komisoni Fili kihe fili foʻou.

    “Pea ko e toki tuutuuni ae Fakamaauanga ke toloi ae fakahoko ae tuutuuni ae Fakamaauanga Lahi, pea ko e toki mau ia e Mateni ene ngaahi monuia hange ko e vahe.

    “Ko e tuu he taimi ni kuo taofi ene vahe etc. I heeku mahinoi ae ngaue kuo fai e he Kalake, He kuopau ke fakahoko ae tuutuuni ae Fakamaau Lahi, kae oleva kuo toki fekau mai e he Fakamaauanga Ke toloi ke tali ki he tangi.

    Kuo ʻosi fanongonongo foki ʻe he Sea ʻo e Fale Aleá ʻa hono fakataʻeʻaongaʻi ʻo Matení neongo ne pehē ʻe Kefu ne ne ʻosi ʻave e faleʻi ki he Kalake Pule ʻo e Falé ke fakatatali e fili siʻí kae ʻoleva ke mahino e tangí.

    Fakatatau ki he fakamatala ‘a Kefu ‘oku fai tu’o ua a e Fakamaau’anga Tangi ‘a Tonga he ta’u. Ko e Fakamaauanga Tangi hoko ko e ‘aho 29 Ma’asi ki he aho 8 Epeleli. Ko e taimi ia e fai ai ae tangi a Mateni.

    Ka ‘e uluaki kole ia ke fai a e tu’utuuni ki he ke toloi e hilifaki hono tautea kae ‘oleva ke mahino ‘ene tangi i Sanuali pea e malava ke fai pe ia e he Eiki Fakamaau Lahi, ko e lau ia ‘a Kefu.

    E mahino pe tangi ia kimua ae fale alea lahi is Me.

    Ko e aho ke fai ha fili foou oku toki felotoi mo femahinoaki ki ai ae Sea Fale Alea mo e Komisoni Fili ko e fakamatala ia ‘a Kefu.

    Pehe foki ‘e Kefu ne ne fale’i e Kalake Pule ‘o e Fale Alea ke nau fakatokangai e malava ke fai ha tangi, pea kapau e fai ha tangi pea oku sai ange ke tuku ke fai a e tangi ke mahino pea toki sio ki ha fili sii.

    Ne ne pehe ko e falei pe ne ne fai ka ko e mafai tauataina ia a e Kalake pea mo e Sea pe te na muimui ki ai pe ikai, ka kapau e fili pe tatali oku kei fa’o tatau pe ia mo e lao.

    ʻOku teʻeki mahino ha ʻaho ki ha fili foʻou ki Tongatapu 4 pea ne ʻikai tali mai ʻe he Kalake Pule ʻo e Fale Aleá ʻemau fehuʻi ne ʻave ki aí.

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