(L-R) Prime Minister Pōhiva Tu'i'onetoa and Tourism Minister Akosita Lavulavu

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Prime Minister Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa has labelled as lies claims he had received a letter from King Tupou VI ordering the government to stop paying millions of pa’anga for three quarries from which government intended to buy rocks for its roading project.

The Prime Minister’s Office accused PTOA Party supporters of malicious attempts to discredit the government by sharing false information on social media.

The denial came after the PTOA’s Hardtalk Livestream United States-based presenter, Tilila Siola’a Walker Sumchai, claimed on the PTOA’s Facebook group, known as PTOA Tonga Global Political Movement, that King Tupou VI often viewed the group’s posts.

In Tongan she alleged in a post on April 24 that the king has stopped the government paying TP$27 million for the quarries which belonged to former MP ‘Etuate Lavulavu and businessman Saia Moehau. She claimed this had caused chaos among those involved (“hoka e hulohula.”)

Sumchai’s allegation was part of a campaign by some PTOA supporters against Hon. Tu’i’onetoa’s Roading Project.

The PTOA Core Team’s secretary MP Siaosi Pōhiva told supporters during a feast in Auckland recently Sumchai’s Hardtalk Livestream did not represent the Party.

The Prime Minister’s Office denied His Majesty had ever communicated with the Prime Minister regarding purchasing of quarries.

“There was no truth in this defamatory accusation,” the office said in Tongan.

It claimed these PTOA supporters had misled the public by using the king’s name and feeding them misinformation.

The Office had  previously denied allegations on social media that Cabinet Ministers, including the Chief Secretary, had approved their massive pay rise of $50,000 each.

The Prime Minister’s Office said the Cabinet’s pay rise was controlled by the Remuneration Authority.

Quarries

The Prime Minister told FM87.5 that the government had hired three quarries in Tongatapu and one in Vava’u for the roading project. He said two quarries belonging to two ministers were among the three in Tongatapu.

He previously told Kaniva News the ministers were Lord Ma’afu and Lord Nuku. He did not identify the owner of the third quarry and the owner of the one in Vava’u.

The government would buy rock from the quarries for TP$70 a truck load.

The main points

  • Prime Minister Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa has labelled as lies claims he had received a letter from King Tupou VI ordering the government to stop paying millions of pa’anga for three quarries from which government intended to buy rocks for its roading project.
  • The Prime Minister’s Office accused PTOA Party supporters of malicious attempts to discredit the government by sharing false information on social media.

For more information

PM Talking Points: Lack of equipment, work practices meant road project missed deadline, but PM says changes plans will help make plan a success

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