Tonga’s Electricity Commission Chief Executive Officer Lord Dalgety of Sikotilani Tonga abruptly resigned yesterday Monday 16, citing health reasons, amid an investigation into claims of missing funds in the organisation.
His resignation comes after a meeting scheduled for Thursday last week October 12 to investigate the missing fund allegations has been cancelled after commissioner Paula Tupou who was conducting the investigation, walked out of the meeting venue.
In his letter of resignation to the chairman of the commission, Lord Dalgety said: “Having regard to my age (72) and for reasons of health the time is now propitious for me to announce my retiral from the important and onerous task of chief executive of the Electricity Commission, to be effective on 31st March 2018.”
“This will give amble time for the commissioners to engage a suitable replacement and for an orderly hand-over to be effective.”
Leaked emails previously obtained by Kaniva Tonga news appear to show Lord Dalgety has refused to comply with a demand for information about money allegedly missing from the Electricity Pension Fund Trust.
- Leaked e-mails point to major row with Lord Dalgety over missing fund allegations
- Electricity Commission meets to address allegations; funds were audited, NRFB boss says
- Electricity Commission meeting cancelled as Commissioner Tupou walks out
A cabinet spokesperson said the government has taken allegations about the Electricity Commission retirement funds seriously.
It was not immediately clear whether or not the king’s law lord would also resign from his roles with His Majesty’s Privy Council and as Tonga’s Election Commissioner.
The Kaniva News can reveal the Minister of Finance Hon. Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa repeatedly demanded information from the commission apparently after we reported the allegations.
An email showed EC chairman Rev. ‘Alifeleti ‘Atiola wrote to Lord Dalgety and Commissioner Meleseini Folau informing them about the Minister’s demands.
“I would like to request that you kindly make available the information required by the Minister of Finance as per stated in his letter to me (attached),” the email read.
“We (commissioners) had a meeting with the Minister of Finance on Monday and he asked for the information again and I assured him that this coming meeting will facilitate the availability of the required information.
“Please note that I had given the Minister of Finance, of whom I am directly accountable, my word that he will have the required information by tomorrow evening after the meeting.”
Rev. ‘Atiola also told Lord Dalgety and Folau Hon. Tu’i’onetoa had appointed two new commissioners who had been approved by cabinet on 4 October.
The two new commissioners were Mr. Soane Patita Vahe and Ms. Seinimili Fonua.
Another email seen by Kaniva News was from Minister of Police Māteni Tapueluelu to Tupou.
Hon. Tapueluelu said the Electricity Commission saga has gone on for some time.
“My personal opinion is, I urge the Chair of the Commission to summon courage and take the bull by the horn,” Hon Tapueluelu told Tupou.
“As a former journalist, when issues get to the media, not one iota will be hidden. That’s when everyone must admit the truth.
As current Police Minister, if there are criminal elements involved, this government will not look away.”