PM Tu‘i‘onetoa threatens to fire Tonga Power director, puts his allowances on hold

    Prime Minister Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa has threatened to fire Tonga Power Ltd director Paul Chapman.

    Tu’i’onetoa has also put Chapman’s monthly director and meeting fees on hold.

    Chapman was told he was “incompetence, neglect of duty, misconduct, or failing to assist the public enterprise to act in accordance with the principal objective.”  Mr Chapman has “vehemently denied” this.

    The director was given 14 days to make a response or his contract would be terminated.

    Veteran journalist Kalafi Moala first published a story on Chapman and the prime minister last week.

    Moala described Chapman as a person “who has been perceived by the TPL Board as someone who is not only a dissenter when he does not see things eye to eye with them, but can also be direct in his communication”.

    Prime Minister Tu’i’onetoa, who is also the Minister of Public Enterprises,  is expected to make a “final decision” when receiving a response from Chapman.

    Tu’i’onetoa is being accused of refusing repeatedly to take immediate action against convicted Cabinet Minister Akosita Lavulavu after she and her disgraced husband Etuate Lavylavu defrauded more than half a million pa’anga of the government school grant scheme.

    In a surprising political twist yesterday Friday 18, Tu’i’onetoa has placed Akoslita on leave, amid mounting calls and pressures for him to sack Akosita.

    It is uncertain whether she will be paid while she is on leave.

    Tu’i’onetoa has been accused of constantly shifting justifications to defend his refusal to take action against Akosita. He told his critics he cannot sack Akosita until the court due process is completed referring to the constitution clause 23 which allows a convict to remain in office if they have sought leave to appeal their sentencing.

    However his critics said the prime minister has sole power given by clause 51(3)(a) of the constitution to take immediate actions against Akosita.


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