The Tongan government has been allowed to make a late response to the legal suit brought against it by the Pacific Games Council.
Our correspondent in Tonga says the parties will now go before the Supreme Court in Nuku’alofa on November 1 for a hearing before Chief Justice Owen Paulsen.
As Kaniva News reported earlier this month, the Council and the kingdom’s Olympics Committee are suing the government over its decision to withdraw from hosting the 2019 Pacific Games.
According to the writ of summons issued at the Nuku’alofa Supreme Court on May 15, TASANOC has sought damages of TP$2,612,256,59 (NZ$1,745,619.60) while the PGC wants TP$5,841,924.40. (NZ$3,911,764.22).
The government’s lawyer, Dr Rodney Harrison, successfully appealed to the court to allow the late submission after the government missed the May deadline.
The Pacific Games Council and Tonga’s Olympic Committee applied for a default judgement in their favour after the government missed various deadlines to respond to the action.
Radio New Zealand has reported that the Council withdrew its application and was given a month to answer a government challenge to have the Olympic Committee removed as a plaintiff.
The head of the 2019 Pacific Games Organising Committee, Lord Sevele, has argued that only TASANOC committee had the right to cancel hosting the Games.
The government of Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva has argued that the contract for Tonga to host the Games was signed between the Tongan government and the Pacific Games council, not the organising committee
As we reported at the time, Hon. Pōhiva said he decided to withdraw from hosting the Games on the grounds of costs, even though fund raising taxes and guarantees of outside financial help were in place.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s office has denied reports in local media that the Supreme Court had already ruled in favour of the Games Council.
Talaki newspaper reported that the court had ordered the government to pay TP$8 million compensation.
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