Outgoing Prime Minister Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa has allegedly suspended the chair of Tonga Power Ltd (TPL) in what had been reported as disappointment over the noble’s support for Prime Minister-Designate Siaosi Sovaleni.
Lord Lasike said he was told to leave while being investigated.
The former Speaker said he was accused of misspending the organisation’s fund to support Sovaleni. He denied this.
He told Setita Tu’i’onetoa of Tnews on Wednesday he did not break the spending rules. He said he was entitled to have dinner with “prospects and ministers” and can approve sponsorships.
The king’s noble said he believed the move was politically motivated and Pōhiva was unhappy because of Lasike’s link with Sovaleni.
The suspension was first reported on Facebook on Tuesday. However, the Kakalu ‘O Tonga newspaper Editor ‘Ulu’alo Po’uhila responded to the report and said they interviewed Pōhiva and he denied the report.
Pōhiva was no stranger to controversy and providing conflicting and misleading statements to the media and the public.
Among other misleading statements, we reported last year that Maikolo Fa’asolo was forced to resign as CEO of Lulutai airline. In response Tu’i’onetoa said Fa’asolo was not the CEO of Lulutai, only to fall completely silent when we sent him a copy of the contract that clearly showed Fa’asolo was in fact the CEO.
Lasike’s suspension came after Tu’i’onetoa threatened to dismiss John Paul Chapman, the former CEO of TPL in June. Tu’i’onetoa’s warning was leaked to media after Chapman demanded former Chairman Dr ‘Aisake Eke tendered his resignation.
Chapman later resigned but Tu’i’onetoa told media Chapman asked for leave so he could travel to his family.