Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva’s life has been threatened by a telephone caller who threatened to shoot him.
Lord Tu’ilakepa revealed the shooting threat in Parliament yesterday, saying in Tongan: “It was a dangerous message.”
The Noble made the claim during a heated debate that grew out of allegations about the misuse of school funds and ended with the Police Minister warning Parliamentarians to watch their language.
Hon. Pōhiva was told somebody threatened to shoot him during a telephone call.
The Prime Minister said the caller was a supporter of a candidate who ran for Parliament, but failed.
The Prime Minister wondered what was stopping the caller from carrying out the threat.
“I am just by myself,” the Prime Minister told Lord Tu’ilakepa.
“I have no police or soldiers to guard me.”
Hon. Pōhiva reminded the House he had no security guards to escort him wherever he went. He said the former Prime Minister used police and soldiers as security guards who escorted him wherever he went even when he went to church and to the tennis court.
Lord Tu’ilakepa told Hon. Pōhiva that it was important for him to have his own security guards.
Police Minister Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa warned the House that he had the responsibility of dealing with people who used threatening language.
In 2011 Hon. Pohiva told the House he and his family evacuated their home and hid in their neighbours’ house after somebody called to ask where he was and said he was coming to kill them.
Police eventually found the man with a rifle on a nearby beach.
Yesterday’s threat emerged after Tu’ilakepa asked Hon. Pōhiva why he had pushed to investigate Tonga’s passport scandal, but seemed to ignore matters related to other parliamentarians.
Tu’ilakepa claimed the government granted TP$1000 per head to 400 registered students at Tiveti Training Centre.
He told the House he knew of two students who were registered by the centre, but claimed they did not attend the school.
Hon. Pōhiva told Tu’ilakepa if he had the documents to prove his claim he could give it to him the following day so he could look at it.
Tu’ilakepa claimed there were people in the House who were involved with the school and that was why the government would not investigate this matter.
Tu’ilakepa then warned the Prime Minister that the people of the nation wanted him to change his ways (fakalelei).
He said this was the first time he had heard such a “dangerous message”.
He said the people had revealed what was in their hearts and he was warning the Prime Minister and Members of the House to be on alert.
He said the burning down of Nuku’alofa in 2006 would not be repeated and he feared for the life of the rest of the Members of the Parliament.
Lord Tu’ilakepa, who was charged with drug offences in 2012 that were later dropped, was described as being at the boiling point during a heated debates with Hon. Pohiva.
He appeared to be extremely emotional after Member for Ha’apai 14, Veivosa Taka, interrupted and told the House that if a person was telephoning regularly he was a “dealer.”
But Lord Tu’ilakepa confronted Taka asking him what was the connection between the telephone he made and a “dealer”.
He then said he was talking about a person who called and told him he wanted to shoot the Prime Minister.
Hon. Taka said he thanked Lord Tu’ilakepa for his threat warning, but he believed Tonga was a peaceful country.
He also rejected Tu’alakepa’s claim in the House saying he was representing the majority of the people who raised with him their concerns about the Prime Minister.
He said the nobles, including Lord Tu’ilakepa, were elected to Parliament by only 33 representatives of the nobles and they did not represent the people.
Hon. Taka said he and the rest of the commoner MPS in the House were the only members who represented the people because they were elected by the people.
Lord Tu’ilakepa described Taka’s comments as “distasteful.”
Lord Tu’i’afitu began to speak in support of Lord Tu’ilakepa, but the Police Minister warned the House about using threatening language and told members to be careful when using such words.
First shooting threat
When Hon. Pōhiva was Leader of Opposition in 2011 he told the House during a debate on the Firearm Acts he received a phone call at his house from someone who told him to wait for him as he was coming to shoot him.
Hon Pohiva said his children fled their house while he and his wife Neo took shelter in another place.
They returned after some time and were told by their neighbours that they had a man who came to their home, called for him and then left.
While they were talking to the neighbour the man came back to their house looking for them again and then left.
Hon. Pohiva said he then called the Police who found the man on a beach with a rifle.
He did not identify the man or further gave details.
The main points
- Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva’s life has been threatened by a telephone caller who threatened to shoot him.
- Lord Tu’ilakepa revealed the shooting threat in Parliament yesterday, saying in Tongan: “It was a dangerous message.”
- The Noble made the claim during a heated debate that grew out of allegations about misuse of school funds and ended with the Police Minister warning Parliamentarians to watch their language.
- Pohiva said the caller was a supporter of a candidate who ran for Parliament, but failed.