Rogue car dealer given suspended prison sentence in Tongatapu

    Notorious car trader Filimone To’aho has been given a two-year suspended jail sentence after he failed to deliver 20 vehicles promised to be imported under the ownership of the owner of a finance company.

    Filimone To’aho. Photo/Facebook

    To’aho, 40, had borrowed TOP$17,767.81 to purchase the motor vehicles from Japan.

    As security, he pledged ownership of the vehicles in favour of the complainant.

    To’aho agreed to sell the vehicles, save for two which were to be retained by the complainant, repay the loan from the proceeds of the sales and retain the balance. The complainant agreed.

    Accordingly, on 3 November 2017, the complainant arranged for a telegraphic transfer of the funds to SBT Japan.

    By March 2018, the complainant had not received the vehicles. Tao’aho told the complainant that the ship had been delayed. However, later that same month, an associate of the convict informed the complainant that the vehicles in question had arrived from Japan but that To’aho had sold them to other car dealerships.

    A representative of the shipping company confirmed that the Defendant had changed the ownership of the 20 vehicles from the complainant to two other car dealerships. When confronted, To’aho purported to explain that he had changed the ownership of the vehicles to the other dealerships because the complainant had not advanced all the money he 2 requested . The complainant refuted that explanation and told the Defendant that if she could not receive her vehicles, she wanted her money back.

    He was convicted by Chief Justice Whitten of theft and is sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment.

    The sentence is to be fully suspended for a period of 2 years from this day, on the following conditions, namely, that during the period of suspension, To’aho is to:

    (a) not commit any offence punishable by imprisonment;

    (b) be placed on probation;

    (c) report to the probation office within the next 48 hours;

    (d) perform 60 hours of community service as directed by his probation officer;

    and

    (e) pay the complainant (by payment into court) the remaining balance of $2,924.56 by 30 July 2021 .

    “Failure to comply with any of the above conditions may result in the suspension being rescinded, in which case, the Defendant will be required to serve the balance of his sentence”.

    Presentence report

    His presentence report said To’aho is the second eldest of five children . He was raised in a good family. Both his parents were primary school teachers. He was well educated and received a diploma in teaching.

    To’aho is no stranger to car trading controversy and court.

    He previously appeared in court after he reportedly failed to deliver eight vehicles purchased by a customer.

    in that case, To’aho of Tokomololo and co-accused Lesieli Langi were jointly charged with criminal conspiracy with intent to defraud $17,767.81 after the customer did not received the vehicles in November 2017.

    As Kaniva news reported in 2016, the Holonga Vavaʻu Development Committee did not receive their TP$23,000 refund from Toʻaho and his Super Cheap car dealership despite a court order.

    The money was paid after Super Cheap promised it would provide a passenger bus bought by the Committee.

    FAKAMATALA FAKATONGA

    Kuo tautea’i ‘e he ‘Eiki Fakamaau Lahi’ ‘a Filimone To’aho ta’u 40 ‘a ia  kuo ‘iloa ki hono kākaa’i ‘o e kakai’ ‘i he mala’e ‘o  e fakatau me’alele’ ke ne ngāue pōpula māhina 12 kae toloi kakato ‘i he ta’u ‘e ua. Ko e tautea ‘eni hili ‘ene alea mo ha kautaha nō ke ‘oange ‘a e pa’anga ‘e TOP$17,767.81 ka ne hu mai ‘a e me’alele ‘e 20 mei Siapani ‘i he hingoa ‘o e tokotaha ‘a’ana ‘a e kautaha noo’. Ne kei tali e tokotaha ko ‘eni ki he alea ta ko ē kuo ‘osi tu’uta ‘i Tonga ‘a e ‘ū me’alele kae liliu ‘e To’aho ia ‘a e ‘ounasipi’ ‘o fakatau ‘e ia ki he tila kehe ‘a e ‘ū me’alele’ ni. ‘Oku ‘ikai ko ha’ane toki hā ‘eni ‘i he fakamaau’anga’ fekau’aki mo ‘ene ta’efaitotonu ‘i he alea fakatau me’alele’.

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