A Tongan woman convicted of fraud in New Zealand has engaged in a war of words after being ridiculed on social media by supporters of Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva.
Neomai Muasika, 55, had previously claimed on social media that the Prime Minister was corrupt and dishonest.
Hon Pōhiva’s supporters began taunting Muasika this week after it was revealed she had been convicted in March at the Dunedin District Court on six charges of dishonestly using a document and one charge of obtaining by deception.
She was sentenced to six months’ home detention (with six months’ post detention conditions) and 200 hours’ community work after she defrauded Inland Revenue and Social Housing of a total amount of $98,964.61.
She was also ordered to pay $10,000 reparation at $20 a week, the level of payments to be reassessed in one year’s time.
Judge Michael Turner described her offending as premeditated and protracted.
“Essentially, what you did was steal from every taxpayer in the country,” Judge Turner said.
In defending herself on Facebook, Muasika said in Tongan: “Tax pe a Neomai kai pe e Neomai ta fkfoki pe e Neomai ikai kau ai tukuhau kakai masiva i Tonga mahino atu.”
This translates into English as: “It was Neomai’s tax Neomai defrauded it Neomai paid it back and it did not involve the poor Tongan taxpayers’ tax is that understood.”
In response a critic wrote: “Hahah hoo mata malohi keke kai e paanga tax e kakai peake tala koho paanga tax..lol”
This translates into English as: “Hahaha how dare you embezzle people’s tax and say it was your tax money..lol”
Another commentator told Muasika he thought when he read the news her husband had died.
In response Muasika said she only did that so she could get money for living, referring to her fraud activities.
Some commenters stood by Muasika and said she should not be criticised as she had been convicted and she would pay for her fine.
Muasika’s offending resulted in her receiving $61,510.32 benefit overpayment. Muasika received a pecuniary advantage in the form of subsidised Income Related Rent for social housing amounting to $37,454.29 resulting in a total overpayment of $98,964.61.
The judge noted Muasika’s explanation to probation services that her husband would return to Tonga without her and the children and that she needed funds to keep the house running.
She said she became accustomed to financial independence.
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