Police Minister says vehicle crash did not involve Hon Uata or Prime Minister

    A crash which involved a government ministerial vehicle did not involve the Minister of Labour or Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva, the Minister of Police, Hon Māteni Tapueluelu said.

    Hon Tapueluelu told Parliament yesterday he received a report from his officers that the Minister of Labour and Commerce, Dr Tu’i Uata, was not in the vehicle at the time of the crash.

    The driver of the vehicle had been arrested, he said.

    Hon Tapueluelu said when he got the information about the accident last month he contacted his Police Commissioner and asked him to investigate the Minister and his driver.

    He said the report he got following the investigation confirmed that neither Hon Uata nor the Prime Minister were involved.

    Hon Tapueluelu told the House a police officer lived near the scene of the crash and he assisted the investigation.

    He said he recently served as acting Minister of Finance and reminded all Cabinet ministers that all ministerial vehicles must be used and parked according to the guidelines.

    Hon Tapueluelu was responding to allegation raised in Parliament by noble MP Lord Tu’i’āfitu.

    The noble alleged Hon Pōhiva was involved in the crash.

    Lord Tu’i’āfitu said Hon Uata should have been up front with a response about the crash to clarify any misinformation by the public.

    He also questioned the time of the crash, which he said happened late at night.

    Hon Uata told the House he was not driving and he had not been drinking because he was a Mormon.

    He said he was at a cocktail party before they left with his driver.

    The driver dropped him off and took the van with him before he crashed.

    Hon Uata said Lord Tu’i’āfitu was keen to talk about the accident which resulted in a TP$8,000 repair bill, but was reluctant to debate on a move in Parliament yesterday by the government to sue the two former Prime Ministers, who had been involved in the illegal transfer of about US$50 million from China to Princess Pilolevu and her Tongasat company.

    The Speaker warned Hon Uata the mater would be brought before the House soon.

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