on Monday that the Tongan government denied that an American group had been granted an exclusive gaming licence to build a casino facility in Tonga has angered business owner Dr. Ronald Pate.
Dr. Pate made a last minute cancellation of an appointment to provide further information about his claims that the Tongan government had approved his proposed casino project in Tonga.
âSince you could not wait one day to speak with me, I am withdrawing my interview with you at this time. If you have any additional questions please feel free to speak with the Ministry of Customsâ, Dr. Pate said in an email on Thursday.
However, despite vehement denial by the Tongan government, Dr. Pateâs marketing director Xavier Holtzhausen has confirmed Red Warrior Entertainment (RWE) was in fact planning to build a casino in the kingdom.
It was not clear whether or not Holtzhausen was aware of the Tongan governmentâs denial before he responded or not.
In an email Holtzhausen said:
âThank you very much for your interest in writing a story about Red Warrior Entertainment and our development plans in Tonga.â
âRed Warrior Entertainment is very excited about the opportunity to develop a 5 star resort and casino in Tonga. Our primary and immediate focus is the development of the 5 star resort and casino, offering a luxury hotel, casino gaming, fine dining and world class entertainment for the people of Tonga and guests from around the world. Updates on future growth and expansion in Tonga will be available on our website atÂ Â as they become available.â
When asked to provide a copy of their license agreement with the Tongan government Holtzhausen did not reply.
A Tongan government statement said it received a proposal for a Tourism Facility and Investment to be known as the Tavake Tamafua Tourism Investment Project (TTTIP) from a foreign company called the Amira-Unison-Gatti LLP.
The complete investment included âthree main projects: The Pearl Airport Hotel and Shopping Mall, the Frangipani Luxevillas and Aria Tourism Entertainment Gaming Resort. On 4thÂ November, 2016 Cabinet supported the TTTIP subject to facilitation of legal documents and relevant plans, and the conduct of appropriate due diligenceâ.
The government said after due consideration, the Cabinet on 11thÂ November 2017 supported only the first two projects (the Pearl Airport Hotel and Shopping Mall and the Frangipani Luxevillas) butÂ NOTÂ the Aria Tourism Entertainment Gaming Resort.Â The Cabinet further directed that the full plan for the Pearl Airport Hotel and Shopping Mall and the Frangipani Luxevillas are to be submitted for final consideration and approval.
The Government noted that Red Warrior Entertainment LLC is one of the foreign counterparts of Amira-Unison-Gatti LLP for the TTTIP. A government representative also said The Ministry for Commerce, Consumer, Trade, Innovation and Labour has confirmed that no license has been issued.
Tavake Tamafua Ltd was registered in Tonga on 29 November 2016 with two directors ‘Epeli Taione and Havea L.Â Gatti.
The Ministry of Custom and Revenues CEO Kulu âAnisi Bloomfield told Kaniva News he was a member of a Cabinet Investment Subcommittee recently established by the government to scrutinise applications by foreign investors in Tonga.
Bloomfield said the main purpose of the sub-committee was to make sure the foreign investors were genuine in any project they planned to implement in Tonga.
He said that in the past some foreign investors submitted false proposals to disguise their true intentions of establishing themselves in the Kingdom before taking large monetary loans and then vanishing overseas.
Bloomfield said that the Sub-Committee would not allow this to happen again once it is established.
He reaffirmed the claim made by the Tongan government that a gaming license was not issued to Dr. Pate and his Red Warrior Entertainment company.
The manner in which Dr. Pate behaves places him and his company in a very awkward position.
Why did he refuse to talk to Kaniva News after he apparently read the story revealing the rejection of his gambling license application by the Tongan government?
Kaniva News did not email Holtzhausen, but our enquiries were specifically directed to Dr. Pate.
Holtzhausenâs response apparently was made on behalf Dr. Pate even though the self-proclaimed multinational investor refused to talk to us.
In addition, the lack of information provided by RWEâs company website does not reflect well on its credibility.
In a Professor Max Abbott of AUT’s Gambling Research Centre said:
“I think it’s very dubious. Unless there are other organisations with the same name that I couldn’t find, I think it would lead one to be suspicious,” Abbott said.