Police Minister Māteni Tapueluelu told Parliament the government was concerned that the Speaker had not given the government an opportunity to respond to allegations against seven government Ministers, including the Prime Minister.
The government was concerned that allegations in a petition organised by PSA head Mele ‘Amanaki, which had been presented to Parliament in June, were aired in public before they had been given to the Auditor General to examine.
Hon. Tapueluelu said the government believed it had a “right to reply”.
He said the government thought the petition would not be aired publicly until the auditing was finished.
The ministers who were accused in the petition have submitted their responses to the Speaker Lord Fakafanua. But the Speaker has passed them on to the Privilege Committee to examine.
Hon Tapueluelu said the government’s response had been tied (“nono’o”) together with the Auditors’ report.
He said the public had been waiting for the government’s response.
The allegations in the petition had been used by anti-government factions as weapons to attack government on social media.
The petition was strongly backed by unsuccessful parliamentary candidates and some de facto Democrat MPs.
After about three months when the petition was read in the House some of the cabinet ministers who had been accused came forward and responded through Kaniva news.
They vehemently denied the allegations and criticized the petitioners saying they had held a grudge against them after the PTOA Party dumped ‘Amanaki in last year’s snap election.
The Ministers had great concerns at how the Speaker had allowed the petition, which had not been scrutinised by a Parliamentary authority, to be aired in the public.
Deputy Prime Minister Semisi Sika echoed the concern.
The Police Minister said the response from government should have been read out without waiting for the Auditor.
“Auditing and responding to allegation were two different things,” Hon Tapueluelu told the Speaker in Tongan.
The Speaker told the Minister of Police on Monday their responses had been passed on to the Privilege Committee and would be read out in the House soon.
The main points
- Police Minister Mateni Tapueluelu told Parliament the government was concerned that the Speaker had not given the government an opportunity to respond to allegations against seven government Ministers, including the Prime Minister.
- The government was concerned that allegations in a petition, which had been presented to Parliament, were aired in public before they had been given to the Auditor General to examine.
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