What are Lavulavu couple sentences likely to be after conviction over $500,000?

    'Oku 'i lalo 'a e fakamatala fakaTonga

    Cabinet Minister ‘Akosita Lavulavu and her husband, ousted former Cabinet Minister and MP ‘Etuate Lavulavu, were both found guilty on Friday for obtaining TOP$558,600 by false pretences.

    The charges included three counts of knowingly dealing with forged documents.

    They are set to be sentenced on July 2.

    It’s currently unclear how much time the couple will spend behind bars.

    Obtaining an advantage by false pretences carries a maximum penalty of five years’ jail while forgery carries a maximum imprisonment of seven years.

    Knowingly dealing with forged documents carries a maximum penalty of five years.

    The presiding judge, Nicholas Cooper, has wide discretion in how he imposes the sentences. It’s unclear whether the sentences will be imposed consecutively or concurrently — or whether Akosita’s status as a first-time offender will result in a shorter sentence.

    ‘Etuate was no stranger to court and he could be given the maximum allowable sentences. The Supreme Court convicted him of bribery and spending over the legal limit on his 2014 election campaign.

    The conviction cost him his Parliamentary seat for Vava’u No. 16.

    In his summary of the case, Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said Lavulavu was not a credible witness and that his evidence was implausible, evasive and untruthful.

    Furious backlash

    Prime Minister Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa provoked a furious backlash from the public for refusing to sack Akosita.

    Tu’i’onetoa has used the constitution’s clause 23 to defend his failure to take immediate action against Akosita because she has appealed her conviction, a move which will take a 42-day process.

    But critics called on him to use his exclusive power given by clause 51 to sack her.

    ‘Akosita previously told Kaniva News he would not step down citing the principle of everyone is innocent until found guilty.

    FAKAMATALA FAKATONGA

    ‘Oku ‘ikai mahino pe ko e hā e lōloa e ta’u ‘e ngāue pōpula ai ‘a e ongo Lavulavu’ tukukehe ka ‘i ai ha tautea toloi. Ko e hia kuo na halaia ki ai ‘oku tautea ngāue pōpula kotoa ia. Ko e ma’u e pa’anga ‘i he founga kākaa’ ‘oku ngāue pōpula ‘ikai toe laka hake he ta’u ‘e nima. Ko e tautea lahi taha ki hano liliu kākaa’i ha fakamatala ko e ngāue pōpula ‘ikai toe laka hake he ta’u ‘e fitu. ‘Oku ‘atā e mafai ‘o e fakamaau lahi Nicholas Cooper ki he anga ‘ene fili ki he lahi ‘o e tautea ke hilifaki’. ‘A ia ‘oku ‘ikai mahino pe te ne tautea ke na ngāue’i taimi kehekehe’i ‘a e ngaahi hia kuo fai ai ‘a e halaia’ pe te ne hilifaki ke ngāue’i fakataha’i pe ‘i ha fo’i taimi pau. Pea ‘e malava foki ke fakasi’isi’i ha tautea ‘o Akosita he ko ‘ene toki halaia ‘eni ‘i he fakamaau’anga’. Ko ‘Etuate kuo pāte’i ia ‘i he fakamaau’anga’ kau ai ‘ene halaia ‘i he ta’u 2014 he’ene totongi fakafufū pea iku mole ai hono sea ‘i Fale Alea’. Pea ‘i hono tu’unga ko ia’ ‘e malava na’a fusi a’u ‘e he fakamāu’ hono tautea’. Kaekehe, kuo fakahā mai kuo fakahū atu e tangi ‘a e ongo me’a’ ni.

    1 COMMENT

    1. No body wants anybody to be in trouble or goes to prison, but if you find quilty in the court of law and the Constitution of a country, you must have to pay to the Society the consequences of your wrong doing. It is called JUSTICE served. Now, we also need to put in consideration MERCY. The Lavulavus need to appeal the case for a punishment reduction.

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