The Supreme Court has ordered Tongasat to lodge TP$35,000 with the court by November 1 as a security against further costs in the case.
Lord Chief Justice Paulsen warned that the case, which will now continue into 2020, would not proceed any further if the payment was not made.
Lord Chief Justice Paulsen, in what is likely to be his last involvement with the lengthy and contentious case, was ruling on a submission from Tongasat against an earlier ruling that it must lodge money as a security against costs.
Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva, who began the case against Tongasat when he was leader of the Opposition, applied for security for costs because it wanted to present more evidence. On February 28 this year the court rules Tongasast had to lodge TP$15,000 no later than March 5.
In July a conference of the interested parties was held to discuss issues surrounding the case further.
After hearing argument from counsel for both sides, Lord Chief Justice Paulsen ruled that Tongasat should pay security and dismissed arguments that Hon. Pōhiva should have to make a fresh application for costs.
The judge said the question of whether Tongasat should provide security for costs had already been decided.
He ruled that Tongasat should provide a further TP$35,000 security against costs, bringing the total to TP$,50,000.
He said the complex nature of the case and the in depth analysis of the evidence that would be required justified the request for security against expenses to be lodged.
He ordered the money be lodged by November 1 and said that if the money was not paid, any further action would be halted until the court made an order.
“As I am about to finish my tenure, I will refer the file to the next President of the Court to deal with these matters upon payment of the security for costs,” Judge Paulsen said.