Disgraced former PM Pōhiva Tu‘i‘onetoa loses seat through electoral petition: reports

    Tongatapu 10 Member of Parliament, former Prime Minister Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa, has lost his seat in Parliament after a Supreme Court decision this afternoon.

    Former Prime Minister Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa (L) outside court this afternoon after Justice Cooper announced his decision. Photo/Supplied

    He has been found guilty of alleged bribery and corruption and his 2021 election victory was declared null and void, according to local news media reports.

    Kaniva News is expected to report the full verdict by Justice Nicholas Cooper when the copy of the judgement becomes officially available.

    The court decision came after Tu’i’onetoa was dumped by majority of his former Cabinet ministers leaving him to unsuccessfully fight to retain his premiership seat in December.

    The court decision today also came after Justice Copper sent former MP and Cabinet Minister ‘Etuate Lavulavu and his wife, former Cabinet Minister and MP ‘Akosita Lavulavu to jail for fraud.

    Tu’i’onetoa had been strongly accused of being too close with ‘Etuate while Tu’i’onetoa was Prime Minister.  

    ‘Etuate told media he was the one who masterminded Tu’i’onetoa’s successful campaign to become prime minister.

    Ironically, Tu’i’onetoa’s losing his seat was the latest after ‘Etuate was disqualified as MP by a Supreme Court decision in 2016. He was found guilty of electoral bribery and corruptions and later dismissed as Cabinet Minister.

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