The Prime Minister Hon. ‘Akilisi Pōhiva has dismissed Akosita Lavulavu, his minister who has been charged with various fraud charges, with effect from Wednesday 11 April 2018.
The Hon Prime Minister announced this during a Media Conference at 10.00am this morning at St George Building.
“The Hon Prime Minister had tried in several one-on-one meetings with her to convince her to resign voluntarily from Cabinet because of the criminal charges but she refused,” Lopeti Senituli, The Prime Minister’s Media Advisor told Kaniva News this morning.
Akosita and her husband had been charged after they allegedly committed crimes on August 2014 using forged documents contrary to section 172 of the Criminal Act to support an application by the Unuaki ‘o Tonga Royal Institute to obtain supplementary government funding to assist students.
Police said the Lavulavus were charged after the Auditor General’s office said hundreds of students supposedly attending their private school could not be identified and that the Institute should repay TP$553,800 to the Technical Vocational Education and Training fund (TVET).
The Minister of Police said Akosita could be returned to Cabinet if she would be cleared of any wrongdoing.
“Cabinet had also met several several times on the issue and the rest of the Cabinet Ministers supported the Hon Prime Minister’s request that she should have resigned voluntarily. But she refused. So the Hon Prime Minister said that he had no choice but to request His Majesty to revoke her appointment,” Senituli said.