Fraudster Cabinet Minister Akosita Lavulavu put on leave over conviction

    Convicted Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism Akosita Lavulavu was placed on leave before her sentencing on July 2.

    “The Prime Minister Hon. Rev. Dr. Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa has approved today the request of the Minister for Infrastructure and Tourism, Hon. ‘Akosita Lavulavu to take leave until a decision of the Court of Appeal is delivered regarding her court case”, the one line press release from the Prime Minister’s office says this morning.

    No further details provided and it was unknown whether Akosita was placing on leave without pay or is still receiving her salary, allowances and other ministerial entitlements.

    The announcement came after the prime minister appeared on livestream Tuesday saying he cannot take any actions against Akosita citing clause 23 of the constitution.

    He again defended his refusal to take immediate action against Akosita saying if she has committed the fraud while she was in her roles as Cabinet Minister he would have placed her on leave. He said Akosita committed the serious offences in 2013.

    The Prime Minister recommended Akosita’s appointment to the king in 2019 knowing she was charged with the fraud in 2018 and that was why she was dismissed by late Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva.

    Akosita’s leave came after a petition to impeach her was submitted by the leader of the Opposition Party Semisi Sika to parliament last week.

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