Leaked e-mails point to major row with Lord Dalgety over missing fund allegations

Taupotu ki lalo 'i he pēsí ni te ke ma'u ai ha fakamatala ki he ongoongó ni 'i he lea faka-Tongá

E-mails leaked to Kaniva News appear to show Tonga’s Election Commissioner, Lord Dalgety, has refused to comply with a demand for information about money allegedly missing from the Electricity Pension Fund Trust.

The documents also appear to show that his lawyer has threatened to sue the Secretary of the Electricity Commission, Paula Tupou.

The investigation into the allegations has drawn in the Ministry of Customs and Revenue and the MBF Bank.

Kaniva News understands that Tupou began investigating the Electricity Pension Fund Trust Board and the Electricity Commission after allegations that money was missing and that there were irregularities in the fund accounts.

It is understood that Lord Dalgety’s lawyer, Fatai Vaihū, demanded Tupou withdraw his allegation by September 29 and threatened to sue him for defamation if failed to do so.

In an e-mail seen by Kaniva News, Tupou wrote: “I will not ‘kindly withdraw my allegations’ as per your letter attached. Your clients have been repeatedly asked by a Co-Trustee (ME) to release the information that would clear their names of natural suspicion. They have not.”

Lord Dalgety, a trustee of the Electricity Pension Fund, told Tupou he was not in a position to provide the information he demanded.

“Respectfully, my Employers are the commission, not any individual Commissioner!”, Lord Dalgety said in an e-mail.

“Given Commissioner Tu’utafaiva’s e-mail to place this whole matter on the Agenda for next Friday’s Commission meeting, that is what will happen. Decisions of the Commission at that meeting will of course be honoured by management,” he said.

An e-mail appears to show that Tupou demanded the king’s law lord and another trustee of the Electricity Commission Fund Meleseini. V. Folau provide information regarding the electricity pension fund from 2012 – 2016.

“In my capacity as your Employer, I am ordering you to provide the above information within 8 hours from 9 a.m. Thursday 21/09/2017,” the e-mail said.

“This information was requested to the accountant Kilisimasi, 9 a.m. Tuesday morning so it is readily available.

“No reasonable Employer in the world can afford to tolerate continual refusal by any of its employees to obey a lawful order,” Tupou’s e-mail read.

It is understood the Ministry of Customs and Revenue’s CEO, Kulufeinga ‘Anisi Bloomfield, wanted to know if there had been any breaches of Pay As You Earn deductions from funds contributed by the employees to the pensioners funds

In an e-mail sent to MBF Bank and copied to others, including Lord Dalgety, Bloomfield said: “I am seriously concerned to observe that there are serious issues to address on this matter. This is a straight forward illegal practises if these allegations are facts.”

“To justify the legality of these allegation I demand a meeting with the General Manager of the MBF immediately. I will communicate directly to your Office tomorrow, please prepare all Bank Transaction including any other documents related to this matter.

“[Head of Departments] please keep alert for this issues, and be prepared as I may call all senior Officers to attend to this matter.”

Kaniva News understands that Tupou wrote to MBF bank general manager H.K. Yeoh asking him to provide all transactions regarding the Electricity Pension Fund Trust since 2007.

It is understood that Yeoh replied that while he accepted the request, he needed two trustees who set up the fund account to sign before he would release the information.

The main points

  • E-mails leaked to Kaniva News appear to show Tonga’s Election Commissioner, Lord Dalgety, has refused to comply with a demand for information about money allegedly missing from the Electricity Pension Fund Trust.
  • The documents also appear to show that his lawyer has threatened to sue the Secretary of the Election Commission, Paula Tupou.
  • The investigation into the allegations has drawn in the Ministry of Customs and Revenue and the MBF Bank.
  • Kaniva News understands that Tupou began investigating the Electricity Pension Fund Trust Board and the Electricity Commission after allegations that money was missing and that there were irregularities in the fund accounts.

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