Tonga’s national sport organization TASANOC has refused to pay back $600,000 it borrowed from the government saying it was pushing for the Minister of Finance  to convert it into grant.

The money was given to assist more than 50 athletes who arrived at Fu’amotu airport two years ago to find their names weren’t on the passenger list to PNG to represent Tonga during Pacific Games 2015.

On Tuesday Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva said TASANOC has yet to pay back its loan.

TASANOC Secretary General Takitoa Taumoepeau has said the national sport authority’s AGM in 2015 had “challenged” the validity of the loan.

He said members of the AGM asked whether an individual or a private organisation could borrow money from government.

He said he was told by the AGM to write to the Minister of Finance and urge him to convert the loan into a grant.

It is understood the paper works for the loan were processed after the money was granted.

Taumoepeau said he has written to the outgoing Finance Minister ‘Aisake Eke asking for the conversion and he has yet to receive a response.

He said he wanted to follow it up with the current Minister of Finance Tevita Lavemaau.

Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva was dissatisfied with how the TASANOC handled the athletes travel in 2015 and had demanded an immediate report.

At the time it has been revealed the government had already provided TASA with TP$464,000 as its contribution towards the players travel costs.

For more information

Stranded sport teams leave for PNG, PM demands report from TASA

Fusimālohi resigns amidst uproar over claims of too much politics and no work at TASANOC

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