PSA head rebuts Kele’a newspaper’s attacks as petition to investigate Cabinet submitted

Pehē 'e he nusipepa Kele'a' na'e 'i ai 'a e ngaahi ngāue kākā 'i he kautaha Dairy Processing na'e taki ai 'a Mele 'Amanaki 'i he 1990 tupu'. Ko hono fakafonu 'ikai mo'oni na'e 'i ai 'a e ongo ako'anga lotoloto 'a e Uēsiliana''i Ha'akame mo Fātumu ka e 'ilo ki mui na'e 'ikai ha ako'anga pehē ia. Ko e taumu'a e fakafonu tukuaki'i kākā ko 'eni' ke ma'u mai 'aki e pa'anga tokoni 'a e pule'anga' ki he hu'akau na'e tufa 'e he Dairy Processing ki he ngaahi ako'. Tuku aki'i na'e 'i ai mo hono fakafonu loi'i 'o e ngaahi 'inivoisi 'o pehē na'e tiliva e hu'akau ki he ngaahi ako'anga 'e ni'ihi ka na'e ma'u na'e 'ikai 'ave ha hu'akau ia kae taimi tatau 'ave 'inivoisi ia 'o tala ki Fale Pa'anga ke totongi mai e silini hu'akau ki he ngaahi ako ko 'eni. Ne iku foki 'o kapusi 'a Mele 'Amanaki mei he ngāue'anga ni. Na'e pehē 'e 'Amanaki ko e palopalema ko 'eni ne fakahoko ia 'e ha toko ua 'ene kau ngāue'. Na'a ne pehē ne 'osi 'ātita'i e pa'anga 'a e kautaha' pea na'e maau pe. Na'a ne tukuaki'i ko e fakaanga'i lahi 'o'ona ko 'eni 'e he Kele'a' 'oku tekemui ai 'a e 'Eiki Palēmia'. Ko e lau faka'ētita 'eni 'a e Kele'a hili e mahino kuo fa'u ha tohi tangi 'a 'Amanaki mo hano kau poupou 'o fakahū atu ki Fale Alea pea 'ave tatau ki he tu'i' ke fakatotolo'i e pule'anga 'o 'Akilisi Pōhiva' tokua kuo nau maumau'i e konisitūtone'.

Public Service Association (PSA) General Secretary Mele ‘Amanaki claimed last night that actions by Prime Minister ’Akilisi Pōhiva were behind attacks on her in Kele’a newspaper.

The attacks, by Kele’a’s editor and the Prime Minister’s oldest son,  Siaosi Pōhiva,  came in the wake of a petition ‘Amanaki launched against the Prime Minister, alleging breaches of the Constitution, legislation and Parliamentary regulations.

Siaosi claimed that when ‘Amanaki was manager of the Dairy Processing Co. Ltd in the 1990s the company became involved in alleged fraud.

Speaking to Kaniva News, ‘Amanaki said Hon. Pōhiva was behind her being sacked from the dairy company.

Dairy Processing distributed locally manufactured milk products to primary school students in Tongatapu.

It was a project initiated by the then government to help promote healthy living among students.

The milk products were subsidized by the government through the Ministry of Labour and Commerce.

Allegation

Kele’a alleged that in 1999 it had obtained documents which showed FWC Fātumu Middle School and FWC Middle School Ha’akame received milk products.

The editorial claimed the records were falsified to show milk was delivered to some schools which did not actually receive any dairy products.

In a detailed statement to Kaniva News, ‘Amanaki said claims of financial irregularity had arisen because of the activities of one or two individuals.

She said former government General Auditor, Hon. Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa, who is now the Finance Minister had later presented an audit of the milk company’s financial records that showed its finances were in order.

She said part of the problem was that the government had failed to fulfil its agreement with the Food and Agriculture Organisation, which supplied milk pasteurisation machinery.

“The government was supposed to put in $1m but only paid $250,000.”

Sacking

After she was sacked from the dairy company, ‘Amanaki was hired  by the Department of Agriculture

“In 2005 I initiated the strike which led to Cabinet agreeing to review the Constitution to form a more democratic Government,” ‘Amanaki said.

“The Public Service Association was the main force behind the movement for democracy and ‘Akilisi knows that.

“If I hadn’t  been sacked and gone to work for the Ministry of Agriculture there may have been no strike and ‘Akilisi may be still barking his request for reform.”

The petition

‘Amanaki’s petition had garnered 3330 signatures before it was submitted to the Speaker of Parliament earlier this week. A copy was also delivered to the King for his information.

‘Amanaki was supported by some of the PTOA Democratic Party de facto members, including ‘Eua People’s Representative Tēvita Lavemaau, unsuccessful Tongatapu 4 candidate ‘Isileli Pulu and former MP Teisina Fuko, a former political rival of PM Pōhiva.

They presented a copy of the petition to the Acting Deputy Secretary, Suka ‘Otukolo, at the Palace Office.

The petition accused seven ministers of breaching the constitution.

They are Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Akilisi Pōhiva; Minister for Infrastructure and Tourism, SÄ“misi Sika; Minister of Finance, Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa; Minister for Education and Training, Penisimani Fifita; Minister for Police, Revenue and Customs, Māteni Tapueluelu; Minister for Justice, Vuna Fā’otusia and Minister for Labour and Commerce, Tu’i Uata.

‘Amanaki and the Prime Minister clashed in January this year when he accused unnamed senior officials of corruption and impeding the work of the government.

‘Amanaki dismissed the allegations as unfounded.

The main points

  • Public Service Association General Secretary Mele ‘Amanaki claimed last night that actions by Prime Minister ’Akilisi Pohiva were behind attacks on her in Kele’a
  • The attack, by Kele’a’s editor and the Prime Minister’s oldest son, Siaosi Pōhiva,  came in the wake of a petition ‘Amanaki launched against the Prime Minister, alleging breaches of the Constitution, legislation and Parliamentary regulations.
  • Siaosi Pōhiva claimed that when ‘Amanaki was manager of the Dairy Processing Co. Ltd in the 1990s the company became involved in alleged fraud. He also alleged that she abused her responsibility while she was a civil servant.

For more information

PSA says Tonga’s PM needs to provide clearer policy (RNZ)

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