Tu'ivakano could be impeached for disobeying king’s order: MP Isileli Pulu

The Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano could be impeached for defying the King’s order, said MP 'Isileli Pulu.

The king has ordered the Prime Minister in 2012 not to issue any more diplomatic passports to Chinese man Sien Lee.

Tonga’s Minister of Justice, Hon Clive Edwards told Television Tonga last week there was an order from the king regarding the diplomatic passports.

Edwards said under the Tongan law the king has the power to issue Tongan diplomatic passports.

Apart from the royals and Members of Parliament as well as Cabinet, Edwards said Tongan diplomatic passports  can only be issued to tourist commissioners or people who are representatives of Tonga.

Tongan diplomatic passports were given to Lee because he is a millionaire and he travels regularly, Edwards said.

Leaked emails revealed Tu’ivakano ignored the royal order and ordered the Foreign Affair’s secretary at the time, Mahe Tupouniua to issue Lee with a diplomatic passport in October 2012.

Tupouniua was told the Queen Mother wanted the passport for Lee because he was her very close friend.

Pulu, who was Tourism Minister in 2012, told Kaniva News, the Prime Minister is bound by the constitution to obey the king.

“When the Prime Minister and we MPs as well as ministers were sworn into office we swore before God that we will be truly loyal to His Majesty the rightful King of Tonga,” Pulu said.

“The constitution of Tonga is above everyone in the country and the Prime Minister should have obeyed the king’s order and not the Queen Mother”, he added.

Pulu said he is concerned the royals still have great influence in the government and the decision makers.

“Our undemocratic government still allow this to happen and this is our main problem,” Pulu said.

The Tongan diplomatic passports are being openly issued to Chinese millionaires and foreigners and Pulu said it is worrying because Tongan taxpayers are left in the dark without knowing who benefit from it.

He said the rule of law in Tonga is of great concern and the recent court case where two staff at the Immigration Department were jailed has proved the law is not working at the top level.

 “See, two Tongans have been sent to jail  because of illegal activities that connected them to abuse of just two Tongan passports. The sentence was made because the judge believed the abuse had been intentional.

“In my view, the Prime Minister knew really well that he swore to obey the king. And his order to issue the passport to Lee in contravention of the king’s order is a deliberate breach of his oath,” Pulu said.

The king might have known something about Lee and that was why he made the order, Pulu added.

Responding to the allegation the Prime Minister was involved in the passport scandal Edwards said he was aware of the king’s order.

“I know of the order as it was passed on to me but it was meant to cancel the diplomatic passports,” Edwards said in Tongan adding that that was really a difficult job to do as they have to cancel all diplomatic passports issued since the beginning.

Kaniva News understands the king's order was made directly for Mr Lee.

The Prime Minister told Tupouniua to issue Lee the passport as it was a request from the Queen Mother.

 “The reasoning I was given is that he is a friend of HM The Queen Mother and we Respect Her Wishes,” the email by Tupouniua said.

Tupouniua was worried if His Majesty knew they did not follow his advice.

“I will have to explain and bear the bunt at the next audience with Their Majesties,” the email said.

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