Ratu Mara denies given land in Tonga

Lieutenant Colonel Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara known as Roko Ului who has been given sanctuary in Tonga after he fled Fiji in 2011 has denied he was given an island in the kingdom.

The Fiji Sun report in December 23 said, “Due to his close ties to the royal family, Princess Pilolevu Tuita, the sister of the late King George Tupou V and the current King of Tonga, Tupou VI, gave him one of her islands.

Roko Ului is said to be developing the island for eco-tourism,” the website says.

The Sun also said Mara, “now  holds one of the most prominent positions in the kingdom, as private secretary to the King of Tonga, King Tupou VI.”

The Radio & Television Tonga news in Tongan today says Mara denied he was given an island in Tonga by the “king”.

Asking whether he owned the island of Makaha’a situated at northern Nuku’alofa, Mara told the radio  Makaha’a is leased out to Princess Pilolevu and he has no part in it.

The former Fijian military colonel was land force commander in Fiji in 2010, effectively the second most powerful man to leader Frank Bainimarama.

He and his colleague Brigadier General Pita Diriti were accused and arrested for mutiny and sedition against  Bainimarama.

Diriti was sentenced last December to five years imprisonment.

While on bail Mara’s family were allegedly got in contact with their royal cousins in Tonga.

In May 2011 the  Tongan Naval boat Savea, secretly picked up Mara  in the  south of Ono-i-Lau and took him to Nuku’alofa 370 km away from Fiji.

Mara is a second cousin of King Tupou VI and  is now staying with his royal cousins in Tonga

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