AG investigates Lord Lasike, says Outgoing PM Tu’i’onetoa, the noble says he was denied ‘due process’, threatens to take legal action

    Outgoing Prime Minister Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa reportedly said the Auditor-General has conducted an inquiry into what had been described as an alleged breach of Tonga Power Ltd spending rules.

    Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa (L), Lord Lasike

    Mr Tu’i’onetoa confirmed the high-level investigation to Kakalu ‘O Tonga newspaper this week and warned the media to wait until the investigation outcome was released.

    Mr Tu’i’onetoa, who had been accused of refusing for months to take action against his fraudster Cabinet Minister Akosita Lavulavu claimed the investigation involved “due process” after what he described in Tongan as an independent accusation “tukuaki’i tau’atāina”.

    As Kaniva News reported last week, Mr Tu’i’onetoa suspended Lord Lasike, the chairman of Tonga Power Ltd pending investigation after allegations he had misspent the company’s fund to support Sovaleni in the lead up to the premiership vote last week. Lasike denied this.

    The former Speaker claimed Mr Tu’i’onetoa failed to follow due process over his suspension with pay.

    He told Tnews the “due process wasn’t done”.

    The king’s noble believed the due process should have involved giving him a chance to respond to his accusations before any further action.

    “There is always a process for hiring and firing,” he said referring to the normal dismissal rule in which an employer may end their employee’s employment via a dismissal, but a proper process must always be followed.

    “I was just ordered to leave and go home and never come back to the workplace while being investigated”, Lord Lasike said in Tongan. He said he received the letter of his suspension.

    He said he has been let down by the situation and he will take legal action against the government’s sole electricity provider.

    Lord Lasike was barred from parliament in 2012 following his conviction on weapon offences. The Court of Appeal overturned his conviction.

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