Tonga Power Board (TPB) chairman Dr ‘Aisake Eke pushed back against call from the board’s director to resign, saying he disagreed.
The former Minister of Finance was under the spotlight recently after Kaniva News reported comment made by Supreme Court Nicholas Cooper in the convicted Lavulavu couple’s fraud trial.
Dr Eke was one of the witnesses for the fraudster couple who plundered more than half a million pa’anga of the government school grant scheme.
Dr Eke had given evidence that non government schools were allowed to set their own fee system and that it was acceptable to write a cash receipt of the value of the barter item tendered.
Justice Nicholas Cooper said Dr Eke provided no proof for his claims and that all his credibility was gone.
Mr Cooper said: “It then being so obvious he was not desirous of telling the truth”.
Letter to Dr Eke
“I am not sure if you have read this article or the judgement. I have a copy if you wish to read it”, the TPB director John Paul Chapman said referring to an article published by Kaniva News headed – Former Finance Minister Dr ‘Aisake Eke not telling the truth while giving evidence during Lavulavu fraud trial: Judge.
“I think these are reflective of poor leadership and that, I have experienced under your Chairmanship”, Chapman said, reported veteran publisher Kalafi Moala on Talanoa ‘O Tonga webpage.
“As much as I understand you do advise that you are a strong Christian and believer in those values – issues like this article and my experience on the Utilities Board showcase to me otherwise. That’s my honest opinion”,
“I would sincerely hope that with due respect to legal process, perception of honest leadership, your public intention to be an elected member of parliament -you should resign as the Chairman of the Utilities”.
Dr Eke response
Responding, Dr Eke alleged the article was “misleading and wrong”.
The rest of his response cannot be published here for legal reasons.
Dr Eke was former Minister of Finance after year-long service for the government as CEO of the Ministry of Finance.
He was asked to resign as MP in 2017 because he abstained from a no-confidence vote in the Late Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva.
Chapman vs PM Tu’ionetoa
Mr Chapman wrote to Dr Eke on June 9.
Two days later and on June 11 he received a letter from Prime Minister Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa threatening to fire him as director.
Tu’i’onetoa, who was also the Minister of Public Enterprises 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.